The National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF) is yet to submit its assessment report to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) on the establishment of additional workstations at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC), where the votes cast in the March General and Regional Elections are being recounted.
Opposition-nominated Commissioner, Sase Gunraj told media operatives just moments ago, that the Commission did not meet to discuss the establishment of these additional workstations, because of the NCTF’s ‘failure’ to provide a report on their visit to the site yesterday.
Commissioners of GECOM, party representatives and observers all expressed optimism that the team would have submitted that report by this morning.
GECOM has allocated 25 days to conclude this recount exercise. Today is Day Ten of that process. At the end of yesterday’s activities, it was reported that 421 boxes would have been completed, or 17% of the overall total of boxes to be processed. GECOM, therefore, has 16 days to count 1,918 boxes.
The Commission, in its bid to speed up the process, sought permission from the NCTF to conduct an inspection of the facility to determine where these stations can be placed. Gunraj said that since the report could not be provided, the Commission could not meet to determine the way forward.
“My understanding was that by the end of this morning today, we would have received correspondence in relation to the walkthrough we had of the facility with the view of increasing the number of workstations. As we speak, my understanding is that the Chairman’s office has not received any documentation from the COVID-19 Task Force and as a consequence, we could not meet. There’s no necessity to meet and discuss any issues – or discuss the report because we didn’t get anything,” he said.
Gunraj said that the absence of the report “poses an issue” since the Commission has already given its commitment to establish these stations amid calls made by several parties, and the completion of the process within the mandatory 25-day period.
The Commissioner said that the progress of the exercise is being ‘stymied’ by the NCTF. He explained that the Constitution is very clear that the function of GECOM should not be “fettered” by any body or agency.
“Unfortunately, this is what is happening here…It is very disappointing,” Gunraj lamented.