CARICOM team says recount results ‘completely acceptable’
The CARICOM team which scrutinised the national vote recount has said nothing prevents the Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission from declaring the results of the recount which has shown a victory for the People’s Progressive Party.
“We are…of the unshakeable belief that the people of Guyana expressed their will at the ballot box and as a result, the 3 person CARICOM Observer Group concludes that the recount results are completely acceptable,” the report presented to GECOM and political leaders states.
It added: “The national recount process then, despite some of its minor flaws, is not an indictment of the 2020 polls and the team categorically rejects the concerted public efforts to discredit the 2020 polls up to the disastrous Region 4 tabulation.
“Despite our concerns, nothing that we witnessed warrants a challenge to the inescapable conclusion that the recount results are acceptable and should constitute the basis of the declaration of the results of the March 02, 2020 elections. Any aggrieved political party has been afforded the right to seek redress before the courts in the form of an elections petition.”
It further added: “Overall, while we acknowledged that there were some defects in the recount of the March 02, 2020 votes cast for the General and Regional Elections, the team did not witness anything which would render the recount and by extension, the casting of the ballot on March 02, so grievously deficient procedural or technically (despite some irregularities) or sufficiently deficient to have thwarted the will of the people and subsequently prevent the elections results and its declaration by GECOM from reflecting the will of the voters. The actual count of the vote was indeed transparent.”
The team stated that the imprudent public utterances of some GECOM Commissioners and others about migrant voting, phantom voting, and implied impersonation sounded an ominous tone for the elections.
“The recounting of the votes was conducted with as much precision as possible and with absolutely no hint of bias on the part of the GECOM station workers. Their impartiality with respect to the vote recount was outstanding.
“The constant references to irregularities made by GECOM Commissioners, for instance, could not but have a deleterious impact on the body of which they were part of” and the GECOM Commissioner were therefore complicit in the assault on the legitimacy and the independence of the institution.
As such, the team has recommended a political audit to be conducted of the operations and behaviour of GECOM, both of the Commission and the Secretariat.
The report stated: The Team notes that there were some irregularities at the 2020 elections which were revealed through the very transparent national recount, but none of these irregularities and shortcomings are sufficient not substantial cause to call the 2020 elections into question.
“Yes, the recount suggests that the poll was far from perfect but the imperfections cannot deny that the elections and therefore the recount were reasonably credible.”