EU wants to see SOPs from which Mingo prepared spreadsheet

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The European Union (EU) election observer mission in Guyana has officially written to the Returning Officer of Region Four, Clairmont Mingo requesting to examine the Statements of Poll (SOPs) he used to prepare a spreadsheet with the votes tabulated for the country’s largest voting district.

Dated Thursday, March 12, 2020, the letter, which the News Room has seen, was signed by the mission’s Deputy Chief Observer, Alexander Matus, who noted that its request is covered under Guyana’s General Elections (Observers) Act.

“Pursuant to Section 4 (1) and (3) of the General Elections (Observers) Act, as well as Section 6, 7, 8 and 9 of the Administrative Arrangement between the Delegation of the European Union in Guyana and the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, I am hereby requesting to examine the States of Polls based on which you have prepared the spreadsheet of results before the ascertainment of results for Region Four is completed,” the letter stated.

The EU’s request was also copied to Chairman of GECOM Justice (Rt’d) Claudette Singh, the Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield and members of GECOM.

The GECOM Chairman suspended the tabulation of votes from Region 4 in an effort to have a full understanding of the ruling made by Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George.

The Chief Justice on Wednesday ordered the Returning Officer return to the credible and transparent tabulation of ballots from Region 4 following an injunction filed by a private citizen last week.

She ruled that the Returning Officer had breached the law in the adding up of the SOPs and should return to the process, whether to start afresh or to continue where they left off.

But when the process restarted on Thursday, the RO returned to the use of a disputed spreadsheet which the political parties had objected to last week Thursday.

Returning Officer of Region Four, Clairmont Mingo

The law states that the Returning Officer shall, “in the presence of such of the persons entitled” to be there ascertain the total votes cast in favour of the parties.

Section 86 (1) lists the persons who shall be present at the counting of the votes.

These persons include:

(A) The Returning Officer, and such other Elections Officer appointed by him

(B) The Elections Commission

(C) Duly appointed Candidates

(D) Counting Agents

(E) Such other persons, as in the opinion of the Returning Officer, have good reason to be present.

Returning Officers for nine of the ten electoral districts followed what the law states and had party agents and local and foreign observers present.

This was not done by the Returning Officer. Neither candidates of the Opposition PPP not observers were present when the votes for District Four were declared.

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