Recount will be supervised by GECOM – Commissioner Alexander

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The national recount ordered by Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), retired Justice Claudette Singh will be supervised by the Commission, according to Commissioner Vincent Alexander.

Speaking with the media after a meeting on Friday, he noted that “it is a GECOM Commission supervised recount if it occurs.”

The national recount was initiated by an agreement signed by President David Granger, Opposition Leader and CARICOM on March 16 but was discontinued following an injunction filed by an APNU+AFC Candidate to block the process. In that agreement, CARICOM was slated to supervise the recount.

“There has to be clear directive in an order from GECOM to the administration; we have to decide if the recount is merely a recount of the votes or whether all of the materials in the box will be taken into consideration i.e. the proxies, the people who vote without ID cards and all of that.”

The Commissioner said there is a “fair consensus” that all of the materials in the ballot boxes will be checked in the recount.

Alexander pointed out that the recount is not being done under the Representation of the People’s Act but rather under provisions of the Constitution of Guyana which says GECOM can deal with its difficulties as it deems fit.

“The administration has made it clear that we have to give them clear directions about what we mean by a recount and how we will proceed with a recount. That has not yet been done.”

GECOM will proceed with the recount from Regions 1 to 10 in chronological order, as decided by Justice Singh.

In a statement from the Commission, it was explained that her decision is against the backdrop of Article 162 (1) (b) of the Constitution of Guyana which mandates the Commission to “take such action as appear to it necessary or expedient to ensure impartiality, fairness and compliance with the provisions of the Constitution.”

Further GECOM said the Chief Election Officer (CEO) was asked to provide a framework for the operationalization of the recount, however, the CEO requested guidance from the Commission on a number of legal and procedural issues in relation to the recount and once clarified, he will proceed to operationalize the plan.

Those issues are being dealt with during the continuation of the Commission’s meeting on Friday afternoon.

Earlier, GECOM Commissioner Sase Gunraj said the possible return of the CARICOM supervisory team and the electoral observer missions along with preparations to complete the recount while avoiding the spread of the COVID-19 are issues he wants clarified.

Attorney Kim Kyte, who is representing the GECOM Chair in an appeal court matter, has told the court that the recount will not go ahead before Sunday when its ruling is expected.

See GECOM’s full statement below: 

GECOM decides to conduct national recount in chronological order

3 April 2020, GEORGETOWN – After considerable deliberations at the level of the Commission on the next steps following the decision of the Full Court, Chairperson of The Guyana Elections Commission, Justice Claudette Singh explained that she would be unable to renege on her under taking to the Chief Justice to facilitate a recount of the votes cast in the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections.

In this regard, Justice Singh has decided that there would be a recount of all the regions in chronological order i.e. Region 1 – Region 10. She posited that her decision is against the backdrop of Article 162 (1) (b) of the Constitution of Guyana which mandates the Commission to “take such action as appear to it necessary or expedient to ensure impartiality, fairness and compliance with the provisions of the Constitution.”

Consequent to the foregoing, the Chief Election Officer (CEO) was asked to provide a framework for the operationalization of the recount. However, the CEO requested guidance from the Commission on a number of legal and procedural issues in relation to the recount and once clarified, he will proceed to operationalize the plan.

The meeting was adjourned and will commence discussions on the operationalization of the recount upon resumption.

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