The Opposition, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) will be formally requesting the removal of the Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO), Roxanne Myers, from the process which entails the recount of the votes cast in the March General and Regional Elections being conducted at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre (ACCC), Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown. Making this known today, was PPP/C Executive Member, Anil Nandlall, as he was being interviewed by media operatives outside the recount venue.
He said that a ban was imposed on the usage of cellular phones in the dome. Signs to that effect, were subsequently posted on doors of all ten workstations, he said. This could not be confirmed by the Guyana Standard as the media is not allowed inside the dome of the ACCC. According to Nandlall, such a ban on the use of mobile phones is not contained in the recount operationalisation order gazetted by GECOM.
Nandlall reported that “good sense prevailed” when the ban was lifted later yesterday after objections from several party agents, presumably those attached to the PPP/C, were made.
The party executive said that the PPP/C intends to write to the Chairperson, Justice (retired) Claudette Singh, to lodge a “formal complaint about Ms Myers’ conduct”.
“We feel that she is not acting in the best interest of GECOM; she’s encouraging all these sideshows to continue. Yesterday, it was Ms Myers who instructed that the ballot containers [be] closed at 5[pm], and don’t release more boxes to count. We could have counted a box in each station. Ten boxes could have been counted between 5[pm] to 7[pm]. And that decision eventually won the imprimatur of the Chairman, unfortunately. And so, we have to continue to fight for getting speed in the process, because speed seems to not be a priority with GECOM,” he said.
However, GECOM’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Yolanda Ward said yesterday that it was the Commission’s decision for boxes not to be open at, or after 5pm, as this may result in counting of ballots in those boxes to be left incomplete.
Ward said that decisions being taken by GECOM Secretariat Staff are based on directives from the Commission, and therefore, actions taken by staffers should not be misconstrued as decisions of the Secretariat.
Asked by a Newsroom Journalist if the PPP/C will be asking for the removal of Myers from the process, Nandlall responded in the affirmative.
“Yes, we are going to ask them…You would recall that Ms Myers was even the subject of critical commentary and condemnation by the international observers, and we spoke to GECOM about that. [Chief Elections Officer] Mr [Keith] Lowenfield seems to be behaving himself, but Myers has gone awry. So we are going to request that, unless she behaves herself. We don’t want no favours from anyone; we want the process to run smoothly,” Nandlall said.
The PPP/C is not the only party that is requesting the removal of GECOM staffers. In fact, the governing coalition has also asked for the removal on an Information Technology (IT) Department staffer after he was allegedly caught in a “secret” meeting with PPP/C affiliates.