Youth Challenge Guyana urges party leaders to keep supporters calm

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See full statement below by Youth Challenge Guyana:

Youth Challenge Guyana (YCG) believes that it is important for the leaders of Guyana to urge their supporters to remain composed at this time while they await an official declaration of the winner of the March 2, 2020, General and Regional Elections from the Guyana Elections Commission.

It is our position after continuous observation, since the close of polls and commencement of counting at the Returning Office and Command Centre, that there have been activities which have heightened public insecurity and reduced public trust in the electoral systems of Guyana.

We wish to acknowledge that the staff of the Returning Office and Command Centre have, as far as practicable, executed their roles professionally. GECOM, within its right, established the rules of engagement on the night of March 2, 2020, informing all stakeholders of the process and their roles and responsibilities which was agreed to be understood by all.

What is important to note, however, is that while the staff were professional in the execution of their duties, GECOM failed to maintain the prescribed rules of engagement and allowed the counting office to become overrun by political agents and then later on the Command Centre which affected the safety for the staff and all involved.

The secretariat failed to act decisively at the first infraction of the rules and allowed a major political party to have as many as 22 representatives in the counting office.

Notwithstanding this breach, most of the political parties engaged in the counting exercise became continually disruptive to the process rather than following the required regulation to lead to the completion of the count by GECOM which at some points became threatening to the safety of GECOM’s staff and this further delayed the process.

One political party, had as many as 25 representatives in one form or the other staging vigorous protests about the process without recognizing the hindrance they had become to the process, thus the process was stalled and the secretariat became silent on the actions forward without a transparent view of the remaining counts for District 4.

Be that as it may, YCG was not able to witness a complete count of District 4 following great concern for the safety of our observers.

We would like to recommend that GECOM put better systems in place to complete the tabulation process and prevent future breaches of the rules by all involved.

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