GECOM meets but no elections report from Lowenfield
Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Justice (rt’d) Claudette Singh is meeting with the Government and Opposition nominated GECOM Commissioners to discuss the way forward following the Court of Appeal ruling which on Thursday last upheld the decision of Chief Justice Roxane George that the national vote recount is valid and that the Chief Elections Officer, as an employee of GECOM, must do as he is told.
The appeal was dismissed as being frivolous and vexatious and further abuse of the Court.
But despite the court rulings and the clear instructions to the Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield to submit his elections report using the figures from the national vote recount, he has failed to do so.
The News Room was reliably informed that Lowenfield is present at Sunday’s meeting and has not provided any reason for not adhering to the Chairman’s instructions.
Lowenfield was given a last chance to submit a report by 2 p.m. on July 14 but did not do so and shortly after, a Government supporter filed a court action challenging the recount.
The GECOM Chairman 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.
Lowenfield has been instructed at least three times by the Chairman to submit his report using the recount figures and he has disobeyed her each time.
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.
August 2 marks five months since Guyanese went to the polls but the declaration of the results has been tied up in multiple legal battles.