GECOM CEO’s report must be consistent with Recount Order – Jagdeo
The highly-anticipated report of the recently-concluded national recount must be consistent with the Recount Order which establishes what is to be contained in that report, General Secretary of the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Bharrat Jagdeo has said.
Chief Elections Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Keith Lowenfield is tasked with compiling that report in keeping with Section 12 of the Recount Order. It is to be submitted to the Commission by Saturday, June 13, 2020.
Section 12 of the Order states that: “The matrices for the recount of the ten (10) Electoral Districts shall then be tabulated by the Chief Election Officer and shall be submitted in a report, together with a summary of the observation reports for each District, to the Commission.”
The role of Lowenfield, therefore, is to do exactly that and nothing more, Jagdeo said on Friday during a virtual press conference from his Church Street, Georgetown office.
“We expect that Lowenfield will complete his report will be consistent with the Order,” he said, noting that there will be “intense pressure” by the APNU+AFC on the CEO to inject subjective comments in his report.
After declaring victory twice, the APNU+AFC is alleging that the recount unearthed too many irregularities and wants the elections voided.
Against this backdrop, Jagdeo urged all GECOM staff to continue to act as professionally as they did during the recount, including Lowenfield, and not succumb to pressure from the incumbent.
“I can’t vouch for what happened before [the recount] because we saw some very unusual, in fact criminal, things taking place. We saw, apart from one person or so, almost all the staff of GECOM acting professionally throughout the recount.
“We remain hopeful that they are not influenced once again by APNU and should they depart from the professional course that they embarked upon during the recount, there must be consequences. So I hope they will be mindful of that and that they continue to act professionally,” the PPP General Secretary said.
He also underscored the role of the GECOM Chairperson, Justice (Rt’d) Claudette Singh, noting that she has an important role in ensuring that the process is properly completed.
The CEO’s report will be submitted to the seven-member Commission for deliberation, after which a vote will be taken to officially declare a winner.
The recount has shown a PPP victory by more than 15,000 votes, and Justice Singh has the casting vote on the Commission which is split 3-3 along party lines.
Jagdeo also dismissed unsubstantiated and unproven allegations made by the APNU+AFC of voting by dead people and individuals who were out of Guyana on elections day.
The News Room has carried several reports confirming that persons who were alleged by the coalition to have been out of Guyana on E-Day, were in fact in the country and voted.
The General Secretary also reiterated a position articulated by several lawyers in his party that GECOM is duty-bound to declare a winner based on the recount figures and to do otherwise would mean that it is acting outside of its legal mandate.
“GECOM doesn’t have any authority to not declare a winner or the President of the list that won the most votes. They are bound to declare on the basis of the certified results. GECOM doesn’t have authority to void or annul an election or call for fresh elections,” he stressed.
With the official announcement of GECOM expected by June 16, Jagdeo urged Guyanese to remain “patient but watchful”.