GECOM duty-bound to complete recount and declare a winner – Jonas
Chairman of a New and United Guyana (ANUG) Timothy Jonas says the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is obligated to complete the ongoing national recount exercise and declare a winner at the end of that process.
Jonas, a lawyer by profession, said there is nothing the electoral body can do at this stage with the claims by the incumbent APNU+AFC Coalition that migrated and dead Guyanese allegedly voted on March 02, 2020.
“These allegations are material for an elections petition and cannot be dealt with at this stage. GECOM has a responsibility to complete the count and declare a winner,” Jonas told reporters outside the Arthur Chung Conference Center where the recount is underway.
Pointing directly to a list of 172 names submitted to GECOM by Police Commissioner Leslie James in which he [James] claimed that those persons were out of the country on elections day, Jonas said evidence of that nature has to be taken to a court.
“The information can only be explored in a court,” he explained and noted that there has been no proof that the process on March 02, 2020, was impugned.
“So GECOM can’t use this information to override its own records. GECOM’s record now demonstrates that all persons crossed off as voted were present in Guyana on elections day,” Jonas explained.
“Why is GECOM galvanized to second guess its own record?” Jonas noted.
Jonas said from the list of persons submitted by James, several persons have already come forward to state that they were in fact in Guyana and voted on elections day.
One such person is an election observer and Attorney Devindra Kissoon, who Jonas claimed has provided pictorial evidence that he was in Guyana on E – Day and voted.
“What are you going to do with these bare allegations that have no foundations and no substance?”
The lawyer reasoned that there is nothing GECOM can do with the list it received from the Police Commissioner who is also the country’s Chief Immigration Officer.
Jonas said the opposition People’s Progressive Party is currently pegged to win the recount by roughly 14,000 votes and those names of migrated persons will have no effect on the lead.
Jonas believes the real fraud which GECOM has so far ignored is the inflation of numbers in favour of the incumbent by Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo.
He went a step further to repose full confidence in the elections process saying: “The system of elections in Guyana is a very good system.”
Jonas reminded that the voters list is updated through a transparent process with a window for the major political parties to make objections to names that shouldn’t be on the list.
He said even on elections day the process doesn’t allow for fraud and if corrupt persons attempt to thwart the process they are identified immediately.
“Our system is so good that when the corrupt try to fraud it they are caught immediately. The beauty of a good system is that you can immediately identify them [fraudsters],” Jonas said.