No recount beyond 6 p.m. and if observers come, they will be quarantined – PM

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If foreign electoral observers wish to return to Guyana for the national recount of votes, they will be quarantined for 14 days and the recount cannot go beyond the 6 p.m. curfew.

This is the advice Chairman of the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF) Moses Nagamootoo has provided to Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Justice (retired) Claudette Singh.

“…all persons who are permitted special entry into Guyana during this period when our air space is closed to in-bound passengers, must submit themselves to being quarantined at a government institution for a period of 14 days,” Nagamootoo said in his weekly column in the Guyana Chronicle.

Guyana stopped all incoming flights on March 17 to bar the importation of positive COVID-19 cases. The closure was extended to May 3.

However, the Ministry of Health had previously instituted measures which mandate everyone entering Guyana to be quarantined for 14 days. This measure remains in place for anyone who is now given special permission to enter Guyana as was done with 17 persons who arrived from Barbados in March.

The Electoral Observers missions have since withdrawn from Guyana. The OAS observer team left on March 13 citing the lack of transparency in the tabulation of votes in Region Four but has since said it is open to sending official observers for the recount.

The Carter Center team withdrew on March 20 in light of the COVID 19 travel restrictions around the world but has also said they are open to returning to Guyana.

GECOM is also set to engage CARICOM to resend a team to Guyana to oversee the national recount.

Chairman of the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF) Moses Nagamootoo; Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Justice (retired) Claudette Singh

A national curfew is currently in place from 18:00hrs to 6:00hrs and Nagamootoo also advised GECOM that it should adjust its desired 10-hr work schedule within the daily curfew which means the recount should end at 17:00hrs each day, giving staff and other agents time to travel to their residences.

The order which brings into effect the curfew, also specifies social distancing measures.

The taskforce Chairman added that GECOM should allow “four technical experts of the Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC) to conduct a site visit to assess whether distancing arrangements conform to the pandemic guidelines and the published order.”

GECOM has not yet decided on the logistical arrangements for the recount.

GECOM in a statement from the Chairperson on Friday said there will be ten work stations but did not determine when the process will commence.

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