Private Sector responds to APNU+AFC on recount

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See below full statement issued by the Private Sector Commission on April 08:

The Private Sector Commission (PSC) wishes to respond to the criticisms from the APNU+AFC, and others of its affiliates, with regard to the position it has taken on the logic of confining any recount to District 4 instead of returning to a recount including the other nine (9) Districts.

The PSC wishes to point out that the conduct and tabulation of the votes were never disputed in any of the other nine (9) Districts up to the time when the Returning Officer for District 4, Clairmont Mingo, along with Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, and Deputy Chief Elections Officer, Roxanne Myers, delivered a fraudulent result, observed and condemned by all of the Local and International Observers and the Diplomatic Community.

Of even greater significance, is the fact that when Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, attempted to report a final result to the Commission, which included the fraudulent District 4 count, his report also included all of the other Districts as already counted without any objection from the APNU+AFC.

In fact, at the point in time, when the District 4 tabulation and declaration came under widespread local and international questions for its credibility, the declaration of the results of the other nine (9) Districts had been accepted by all of the contesting political parties. It was only after the tabulation and verification of the count in District 4 were exposed as fraudulent and that a demand for a recount was made that the APNU+AFC sought to question the count in the other Districts.

In the case of District 6, the truth is that a recount of the votes cast was requested by the Counting Agent of the APNU+AFC. The request was approved by the Returning Officer of this District. However, the recount was shelved on the basis of written correspondence from the APNI+AFC Counting Agent who requested that the activity be suspended because the Coalition was not in possession of the relevant SoPs to allow for efficient participation in the recount.

The Private Sector Commission reiterates its position that it has absolutely no interest in which of the contesting political parties is elected to govern Guyana. The PSC is, however, as one of the Accredited Local Observers, totally committed and duty-bound to ensure that a free, fair and credible election result is declared in the shortest possible time by GECOM.

The PSC holds this position, especially, given the fact that the APNU+AFC has now remained in office as a “caretaker” government for some fifteen (15) months since a No-Confidence Motion was legally passed for its removal from office and the holding of new elections and now retains office for some five (5) weeks and counting since the General and Regional Elections have been held.

The statement just issued by the GECOM CEO that a national recount will take 156 days to conclude, that is adding a further five (5) months to the life in the office of an unelected administration and caretaker President, which is very much to the point taken by the PSC that the recount be confined to District 4 where the declared results are genuinely in dispute.

The PSC further wishes to point out that business activity and, indeed, the country’s economic and social life as a whole, is rapidly being paralyzed by the COVID-19 virus pandemic under an unelected administration which has demonstrated a much less than satisfactory ability to manage the challenge of the virus. The PSC further points out that the APNU+AFC administration, because it is unelected, does not command the respect nor recognition of the international community from whom the country desperately needs financial support to fight the virus. The longer this untenable situation prevails, the worse for the people of Guyana.

The PSC points out that, had the District 4 count not been stopped by the fraud which had taken place within GECOM and which has not evidentially taken place in any of the other Districts, the election results would have long ago been declared and a new democratically elected government would already be in place with the full support of the international community.

Further, the PSC is not blind to the fact that GECOM’s commitment to act as the law prescribes to conduct a recount, has been consistently delayed by the intervention of APNU+AFC election candidate, Ulita Moore, in spite of and in conflict with President Granger’s invitation to CARICOM to facilitate the recount. The PSC must, therefore, ask, wherefore does the hypocrisy truly lie?

The PSC recognizes, as the Courts have now reinforced, that it is the duty and responsibility of GECOM to put right what it has allowed to be wrong, by concluding the elections in the shortest possible time.

The PSC recognizes that it is the duty and responsibility of GECOM to administer a recount of the election results in whatever manner and by whatever method it chooses to do so, within the law, with complete transparency, under local and international observation, but without further delay, certainly, not another five (5) months . The PSC will support GECOM in doing so.

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