PPP addresses missing documents in some ECD ballot boxes

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It is public knowledge that during the course of yesterday, at the National Recount Exercise, certain ballot boxes were recounted from a particular part of the East Coast of Demerara. These boxes contained only ballots cast which when recounted, matched the Statements of Polls.

Other documents that were supposed to be included in the Ballot Boxes were excluded. A Presiding Officer who worked in one of these very Polling Stations published on social media that the Presiding Officers, including herself, were specifically instructed by the Deputy Returning Officer to place the Ballots cast into the Ballot Boxes and to exclude all other materials in separate packages for transmission to the Returning Officer.

We also noted that a letter addressed to the Chairperson of GECOM was written by Mr. Paul Jaisingh, a Deputy Returning Officer, who worked in that specific geographic area. This letter was also published on social media.

In this letter, Mr. Jaisingh confirmed receiving the very same instructions pertaining to the used, unused and rejected ballots outlined above, from Miss. Carlyn Duncan, Clerk, to the Returning Officer, Mr. Clairmont Mingo. Mr. Jaisingh further pointed out that as a result, the other documents were placed in a bag provided and delivered to Mr. Mingo.

Rather than deal with the issue internally, with what is clearly an in-house matter, the GECOM Secretariat chose to make a public statement that it received yet, another letter from a group of Deputy Returning Officers, apparently from the East Coast of Demerara but it is unclear who these DROs are and whether they are from the same geographical area under review, where the DROs’ dispute the controversial instructions.

This public statement seems to be in concert with the narrative and false allegations peddled by the APNU+AFC, aimed at disenfranchising electors in PPP/C strongholds.

The matter is made even more complicated by another statement issued by the PRO Yolanda Warde later today, informing the public that the investigation of the matter is not yet completed since “the CEO has also contacted some of the Deputy Returning Officers (DROs) responsible for those areas for a meeting and while they have committed to meet with the CEO today, 6th June 2020: as at 16:00 hours, no DRO showed up to be interviewed.”

It is clear that the Secretariat intend to create unnecessary public confusion and excite tension in the public domain by including these issues in a press statement.

We wish to make it abundantly clear that whatever is the outcome of GECOM’s investigations of their internal issues, not a single Guyanese elector must lose their franchise in the process.

It is hoped that the Commission will address this matter satisfactorily in accordance with the purpose of the exercise, which is a recount of the ballots cast on 2nd March 2020, and consistent with the comment of the Chairperson at the commencement of this exercise: “Every vote will be counted”.

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