No report from Lowenfield again
The Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield on Tuesday failed to submit his elections report as directed by Justice Claudette Singh, Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
Lowenfield was given a last chance to submit a report by 2 p.m. Tuesday but did not do so, Yolanda Ward, GECOM’s Public Relations Officer confirmed to the News Room. It is unclear at this time what Lowenfield’s reason could have been. It is also unclear if he would be dismissed. Another meeting of the Commission is scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday.
Sase Gunraj, one of the GECOM Commissioners, said Lowenfield refused to answer when he was asked questions during a meeting of the Commission that was eventually aborted after Commissioners representing APNU, which is led by President David Granger, walked out.
The Chair had decided that if Lowenfield failed to present his report in accordance with her directions, she would hand the responsibility to Roxanne Myers, the deputy Chief Elections Officer.
There have been calls by political parties and the Organisation of American States (OAS) for Lowenfield to be removed and have no further involvement in this or any future elections.
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) had last Wednesday ruled very clearly that the results from the national vote recount cannot be set aside and must be used to declare the winner of the March 02 elections.
“Unless and until an election court decides otherwise, the votes already counted by the recount process as valid votes are incapable of being declared invalid by any person or authority,” Justice Adrian Saunders, President of the Court, said in a ruling.
The Court then said what should happen when it stated: “It is for GECOM to ensure the CEO submits a report in accordance with its direction of June 16 in order to proceed along the path directed by the laws of Guyana.”
That June 16 direction, which has now been given twice, is for the Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield to prepare a report based on the results of the recount.
The Court had urged that this be done without delay.
“It is for GECOM to ensure that the election results are swiftly declared in accordance with the Laws of Guyana,” Justice Saunders stated.
It is not that Lowenfield is not clear on what the results of the recount are. On June 13, he presented his report of the national vote recount, showing the totals for the ten electoral districts which were signed off by GECOM’s own staff as being valid; when added up, Lowenfield’s report shows the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) beating APNU+AFC by 15, 416 votes.
For each of the ten certificates of the recount which gives the grand total, the GECOM staff, particularly the District Supervisors, who replaced the Returning Officers from the original process, signed off with these words: “I certify that the abovementioned totals were correctly compiled, ascertained and verified using the Statements of Recount….”
It was the GECOM staff, all under the command of Lowenfield, who certified the results for each electoral district when the recount was concluded.
A total of 2, 339 Statements of Recount were produced during the recount; these showed the total amount of votes cast for each party at each polling station.
The figures of valid votes cast for the parties from those Statements of Recount were then added up to get the totals for every district.
Before the signatures for every district, there was a table showing the results of the recount with the words “VALID VOTES CAST FOR EACH PARTY LIST OF CANDIDATES.”
The combined totals, as presented by Lowenfield on June 13 showed the PPP winning the elections with 233, 336 votes. APNU+AFC secured 217,920 votes. Together the other parties secured 9,096 votes.
It means therefore that APNU+AFC lost the elections by 24, 512 votes.