By Feona Morrison

Prime Minister  of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Keith Rowley has justified pulling the country’s Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Mrs. Fern Narcis-Scope from the high-level Caribbean Community (CARICOM) team presently observing the recount of all ballots cast in the March 02 General and Regional elections in Guyana.

Mrs. Narcis-Scope was a part of the initial team of CARICOM scrutineers sent to observe the recount after massive accusations of electoral fraud surfaced as it relates to the tabulation and declaration of votes for Region Four and other electoral districts.

In that regard, incumbent President David Granger and Leader  of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo agreed to have the CARICOM team observe the recount process to ensure it was free, fair and credible. That agreement had received the blessings of CARICOM Chairperson and Prime Minister  of Barbados, Mia Mottley.

During a recent sitting of Parliament in the Twin Island Republic, Dr. Rowley reminded that when the team arrived in Guyana the agreement did not pan out. In fact, he said that it was the subject of a court matter and there were very serious accusations made against CARICOM.

“It was my view and the view of this government that being the outcome of that altruistic approach that the Chief Elections Officer of Trinidad and Tobago ought not to be in that situation at any time, to be accused in that way in a CARICOM country. We did not send back our Chief Elections Officer there, because we want to preserve our pristine position in these matters of the conduct of free and fair elections,” the Prime Minister explained to Parliament.

During an interview early last month with TV6 Tobago, Dr. Rowley had said, “Trinidad and Tobago sent its Chief Elections Officer, not to interfere with the process, just to look at it and bring comfort to the people of Guyana. And the next thing we knew that the presence of CARICOM by an invitation became accusations against CARICOM and a legal process. “So we [CARICOM] had to get out of [Guyana].”

He has nevertheless made it very clear to Parliament that his government is not in any way invested in Guyana, and only wants the best for the Guyanese people.

Dr. Rowley clarified, “…None of us in this government or in the People’s National Movement is invested in anyway in Guyana. We have no horse in Guyana except that we want the best for the people of Guyana. We want to see them solve their problems as quickly  as possible so that the results of an election can be concluded and that Guyana can maintain its high standing in CARICOM.”

The Prime Minister told other Members of Parliament that there is a CARICOM team in Guyana scrutinizing the electoral process and his government is anxiously awaiting the conclusion of an election in the CARICOM member state.

The delegation includes: Senior Lecturer at University of the West Indies (UWI), Cynthia Barrow-Giles; Supervisor of Electoral Commission of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sylvester King and Commissioner at Electoral Commission of Antigua and Barbuda, John Jarvis.

Following the recount, the team will submit a report to Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). Today, May, 10, 2020, marks day five of the recount process currently underway at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre (ACCC). So far, 173 out of 2,339 ballot boxes have been counted.

The recount exercise which commenced on Wednesday, May 06, 2020  will proceed continuously each day, including weekends and holidays, from 08:00 to 19:00hrs, for a period of 25 days, which will be subject to a review during the course of the first week.


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