The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is yet to decide on the final date for the conclusion of the March General and Elections, says Government-nominated Commissioner, Vincent Alexander. He told media operatives outside the recount venue – the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) – this evening, that the Commission is “stuck”.
With the 25-day period coming to an end, the Commission has not decided on how many more days will be needed. However, they are strongly looking at June 13, Alexander said.
From all indications, it appears as if the Commission is at loggerheads regarding the finalization of that conclusion date.
On one end, commissioners want a date that will not allow for the perusal of the Observation Reports (ORs), while the other side – Alexander’s side – wants those reports to be examined. He maintains that these documents must be reviewed for the process to be deemed credible. Therefore, he is advocating for sufficient time to be allocated to the process, specifically to deal with the examination of the ORs.
“If you see what has been coming up in terms of the volume of information in those reports, it will take time. But what people are trying to get us to do, is to write into the order [a] conclusion date, that will obviously interfere with thorough and conclusive discussion of what are in the observation reports. So that is the problem we are currently faced with,” he said.
The Recount Operationalisation Order does indeed cater for a review of the 25-day period that was allocated to the project, and that review, according to the order, will determine whether an extension is needed to complete the process.
However, while the review is ongoing, Alexander said that additional issues were “interjected”, thus extending that process.
One of these issues is the ORs being generated by 12 workstations at the recount venue. These ORs contain objections, with the bulk being made by the incumbent regime, the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC).
These objections contain, among other allegations, that the names of deceased persons are listed as those who voted on March 2, and that persons who were not in the country on polling day, were still listed as voted. Also, there are allegations of unstamped ballots along with accusation of missing pollbooks.
The Opposition, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has said that the process should focus only on the “numeric count” of the ballots and not whether those objections have merit. They have repeatedly said that the veracity of those claims should be ascertained by the High Court, and not GECOM. But the APNU+AFC says that the elections can only be deemed credible until there is a probe of these allegations.
The GECOM Chairperson, Justice (retired) Claudette Singh, according to APNU+AFC sources, has asked for the “evidence” to be submitted to the Commission. APNU+AFC Executive Member, Aubrey Norton confirmed yesterday, that party has already begun to submit “proof” to support their claims.