Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall was the last person to take the stand today in the almost concluded Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the March 2020 General and Regional Elections. Nandlall spoke specifically to the mayhem during the recount process at the Arthur Chung Convention Center.
Minister Nandlall alluded to the recount process as a “nightmare”, claiming that just like the tabulation process at Ashmins Building, there were attempts made by known figures to distort the process. He said that the process encountered many setbacks, which affected the smooth flow of the process.
Before the commencement of the recount, Nandlall told the commission that transportation of the much needed ballots became a tedious task for not only party agents, but employees of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
“There was great sloth in transitioning from GECOM to the venue identified for the recount. They had to move all the containers containing the ballot boxes. It was a nightmare to get them to move that. Then to prepare the place for the recount, to set up the stations,” Nandlall said.
Nandlall said there was ample notice given to the Arthur Chung Convention Center, which housed the weeks-long recount process. But there were more delays to the process, as the country battled with the early stages of the global pandemic.
“Before they fumigated the entire building they told us that no one could go in there. It was strange, I don’t know for how many days or weeks until it was certified by some public health expert,” Nandall said.
Logistically, there were more “nightmares” according to Nandlall. He said this arose from several ‘unsubstantiated’ objections that were from members of the then coalition opponents.
GECOM Chairperson Justice (retired) Claudette Singh, according to Nandlall, recounted that there was some amount of reluctance from the former Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield. Lowenfield, he said, was expected to hand over the official report to Justice Singh. He claimed that there was an attempt to defraud the system by Lowenfield.
“GECOM had instructed Lowenfield to use the results generated by Order 60, the recount process, abbreviate those results and bring those results and he repeatedly refused to do so,” Nandlall said.
Despite the alleged fraud, Nandlall said that Lowenfield submitted the official report to Justice Singh on August 02, 2020 and she thereafter made a declaration of the results in favour of the current administration.