Coalition backs Lowenfield’s numbers, says he reports to no one and no entity
The Coalition APNU+AFC on Friday morning latched on to the most recent report of the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, which gives it victory; in so doing, the Coalition cast aside the report of the CARICOM team which its leader, President David Granger, had deemed the most important interlocutor in the recount process which clearly established the PPP won the elections.
The Coalition adopted the view that the Chief Elections Officer acts in accordance with the Constitution and the Law and takes instructions from no other entity or person.
“He has discharged his functions within the ambit of the law,” the Coalition said in a statement.
The Coalition noted that the Representation of the People Act [Chapter 1:03 of the Laws of Guyana, at Section 96] requires the Chief Election Officer (CEO) to ascertain the valid votes cast in an election.
It said that in keeping with the guidance set out by the Court of Appeal ruling Monday, Lowenfield prepared and submitted his Election Report on Tuesday, June 23.
But the Court of Appeal offered no directions to the Chief Elections Officer. It merely offered an interpretation of Article 177 (2) of the Constitution which says the party with the most votes wins the elections. In the view of two judges of the Court, it should be the most “valid” votes. No other declarations or orders were made.
Further, the order of the Court was put on hold by the very Court of Appeal and that hold was further extended by the Caribbean Court of Justice, which is hearing an appeal.
So Lowenfield could not claim to be acting on the guidance of the Court in presenting his report when there is no such advice that is active at this time.
Lowenfield’s report gives the APNU+AFC Coalition a victory with 171,825 votes. However, the votes which were certified as valid during the recount and backed by a CARICOM team which scrutinized the process, showed a victory for the PPP.
In his first report, based on official figures from the recount, Lowenfield certified that there were 460, 352 valid votes. On Tuesday, he reduced that figure to 344, 508. That’s a difference of 115, 844.
Figures from the recount show APNU+AFC received 217, 920 votes, but in his report Tuesday, Lowenfield gave them 171, 825, a reduction of 46, 095.
Figures from the recount show that the PPP won the elections with 233, 336 votes, but Lowenfield reduced their figure to 166, 343. That’s a difference of 66, 993.
Figures from the recount show that together ANUG, LJP and TCM received 5, 214 votes. But Lowenfield reduced their combined votes to 3, 348, a difference of 1, 866.
There has been no explanation from Lowenfield or GECOM on how Lowenfield came up with his figures.
The APNU+AFC said the recount process revealed a plethora of grave irregularities.
The Coalition said the Elections Commission recorded anomalies, discrepancies and irregularities, the scale, size and scope of which were revealed only through tabulation and observation during the recount.
In fact, most of those issues were raised only by the Coalition, and these include ballots cast in the names of persons who are dead or had migrated.
Other issues the Coalition noted were: ballots cast by persons without proper identification; ballots cast exceeding the number of persons on the Official List of Electors; ballots for one electoral district cast in another; ballots cast by persons outside of their districts without requisite employment documents; ballots and counterfoils carrying the same number; ballot boxes from one polling station containing documents of another; ballot boxes with no single statutory documents; ballots improperly stamped at locations where members of the disciplined services voted; and poll books which are missing.
The Coalition claimed that Elections Commission investigated instances of voter impersonation and was provided with the relevant immigration records and death certificates by the competent statutory authority confirming that certain persons in whose names votes were cast were dead or were not in the jurisdiction on the date of the General and Regional Elections on 2nd March 2020.
But in fact, there was just one list provided by the Police Commissioner, acting as the Chief Immigration Officer, after he was requested by the chair of GECOM who was checking on the claims of APNU+AFC.
GECOM did no investigation to verify the list. The media investigated the list and found that it was inaccurate. Many of the persons who it was claimed were out of the country on elections days were in fact in Guyana and voted.
The Coalition noted that the report of the CARICOM Observer Team on the Recount of the Guyana 02, 2020 Elections of 13th June 2020 acknowledged the occurrences of anomalies, discrepancies and irregularities.
The CARICOM team did call for an investigation of the issues, but said none of them were so grave as to change the results of the elections.
The Coalition also took issue with the CARICOM assessment, saying the team only assessed 18 per cent of the ballot boxes.
“The report of the Chief Election Officer on the Recount Exercise is a substantial report which assessed all the 2,339 ballot boxes,” The Coalition stated.
The APNU+AFC Coalition, in its statement, iterated its preparedness to abide by the Constitution and the Representation of the People Act which provides for the declaration of the Elections Commission.