PPP objects to Statements of Recount ‘being in sole possession of Lowenfield’

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See below full statement issued by the People’s Progressive Party:

For the purpose of the recount, the Statement of Recount (SOR) takes the place of the Statement of Poll (SOP) at the Polling Place. Upon the conclusion of the count at the Place of Poll, the SOP, containing the result of the count is signed by the Presiding Officer (PO) and a duplicate copy of the original is, immediately, handed to each Polling Agent representing their respective Political Parties, the original copy is sent by the PO to the Returning Officer (RO) and another duplicate copy of the original is sent to the Chief Election Officer.

The original copy of the SOP being sent to the RO and the different duplicate copies of the original, being handed to the representatives of the respective Political Parties and the Chief Election Officer, is a fundamental check and balance mechanism, the importance of which is now even greater, having regard to the various attempts at fraud, which we have witnessed in relation to tabulation of results in relation to Electoral District number four (4).

Unfortunately, this important safeguard is absent in relation to the impending national recount. Clause eight (8) of the Order made under the Constitution of Guyana and the Election Laws (Amendment) Act No. 15 of 2000, under which the recount is to be conducted, states: “The Statement of Recount shall be signed by the person conducting the recount and by the representative of each contesting party present, in the presence of the CARICOM scrutinizing team, representatives of Political Parties that contested the said elections, international and Local Observers accredited by the Guyana Elections Commission and advisors to the Guyana Elections Commission. These documents shall be lodged with the Chief Election Officer and copies distributed to the signatories thereto, the CARICOM scrutinizing team, the Chairman and the Commissioners.”

This means that for a period of time, unknown, the Chief Election Officer shall have sole custody of these documents and shall have the sole responsibility of making copies of them for distribution, without any oversight, whatsoever, before they are delivered to the other persons named in the provision.

We have vehement objections to the SORs being in the sole possession of the Chief Election Officer for the purpose of making copies, without any oversight and scrutiny. This is the very Chief Election Officer, who has unlawfully refused to make SOPs in his possession public and has also withheld them from the Commissioners of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) despite their repeated request.

We recommend that when the necessary information is recorded on each SOR upon the completion of the recount of each ballot box and before that SOR is signed by anyone that the relevant number of copies be made, then signed by all the persons who are entitled to do so and be distributed to the different persons entitled to possession of them; so that if there is any discrepancies, it can be detected before the relevant persons sign them.

We take this opportunity to call upon the APNU+AFC rigging cabal and their cohorts to stop their surreptitious as well as blatant attempts to derail, frustrate and undermine the recount process, including, their strenuous efforts to deny the process transparency and the widest possible oversight and public scrutiny.

People’s Progressive Party

May 5th, 2020

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