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  • Commissioners Sase Gunraj, Bibi Shadick, and Robeson Benn, who comprise half of GECOM Commission.

    Commissioners Sase Gunraj, Bibi Shadick, and Robeson Benn, who comprise half of GECOM Commission. | Photo: INewsGuyana

Published 15 April 2020
Opinion

As time passes to offer the official result of the past elections in Guyana, the GECOM has yet to set the date for the recount of votes and the mechanism for such a process.

The Guyana Electoral Commission (GECOM) invited again the Caribbean Community (Caricom) to monitor the full recount of votes from the March 2 general elections while the country still waits for the date to start the new suffrage count.

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Guyana: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Prior to 2020 Elections

The invitation to CARICOM comes as the GECOM announced on Wednesday the procedure and place of the new count, after the irregularities that have arisen in the past elections. However, GECOM has not yet established the date and mechanism for such a process.

Election Director Keith Lownfield had initially proposed a 156-day timeline for the new process, but after other Commission meetings, he was expected to present a new plan on Tuesday. 

Lowenfield has yet to complete an initial draft of the operating plan for the recount exercise.

The first count of votes was suspended, after the Supreme Court issued a ruling to stop the counting in the Demerara-Mahaica (District 4), one of the areas that grant the largest number of votes.

According to the result at the time, the coalition of President David Granger, the official Alliance for National Unity + Alliance for Change (UNPA + AFC), which was seeking re-election, was leading the vote.

However, the opposition candidate of the People's Progressive Party (PPP),  Irfaan Ali, accused the government of electoral fraud and called for a recount.

For its part, Caricom announced its withdrawal from the electoral commission, arguing that there were political forces that did not want the votes to be counted again.

Last month, President Granger and opposition leader Bharrat Jagdeo agreed that a Caricom team would again oversee the counting of ballots in the country’s 10 administrative regions.

GECOM has made it clear that the group's participation would only be to validate, stating that the team’s presence would lend credibility to the process, although there is a Supreme Court ruling that considers the supervision of the Caribbean State’s mission "illegal."

Meanwhile, one of the GECOM commissioners, Sase Gunraj, noted that Caricom has not yet responded and that the observers have so far not pledged to return when the recount begins.

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