The Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) has already written the Returning Officers (ROs) of 9 of Guyana’s 10 electoral districts requesting a total recount of all ballots cast in those districts, with at least two of the ROs already turning down the requests.
The party announced today that owing to the revelation of fake statements of polls (SOs) discovered in several districts it believes a recount of all ballots in all districts is in order.
The RO’s who have received such requests have completed the reconciliation of the polling results for their respective districts and have publicly declared those results. This was done earlier today. These RO’s are from districts 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10.
District 4 is still in the process of reconciling polls cast there and thus has not made a declaration. Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Chairman Steve Surujbally, says that the team in district 4 will be working through the night to finish at the soonest possible time.
GECOM Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, had said today that this was likely as district 4 is quite massive.
RO’s for districts 1 and 2, Murphy DeSouzo and Rabinauth Boodram respectively, have told Demerara Waves that they have considered the PPP/C’s request and will not be granting any recount.
Among the reasons cited by the PPP/C for a recount was the possibility of fake SOPs among authentic ones; that ballots were wrongly deemed invalid; that the tabulation of polls contain arithmetic errors; and that there were more ballots in the ballot boxes than there were names on the lists for the various polling stations.
DeSouza and Boodram explained that several of the issues cited by the PPP/C today were addressed during the recount done yesterday. Lowenfield said today that those recounts yielded no numerical change. Both ROs also said that there was no merit to claims that there were more ballots in boxes than there are names on lists at polling stations as this was due to the fact that ballots from the disciplined forces were mixed with the ones cast by persons residing in the respective districts.
“I don’t think it is reasonable. They had their agents on the ground…if you are placing polling agents on the ground you have a right to object there and then,” DeSouza said.
Boodram, meanwhile, said “all of them had a chance to verify (the result).” He further said that “there is no need for a recount” and that he is “very frustrated to know that the elections were fair and transparent and still” requests are being made for recounts.
Kushaldeo Bipath, RO of district 3, has not decided whether he will grant the recount, but admitted that he “cannot see that it is logical” to grant it based on the reasons cited. “Why they had their agents there and they cannot now take what comes?” he asked.
He shared that his decision will be made after consultation with Lowenfield.
Dwayne Marco, RO for district 8, says that he believes the PPP/C is trying to make mischief, and that he “does not “see a need for a recount.” He has not, however, decided whether he will reject or accommodate the request.
It should be noted that a recount was already carried out in district 8, as was the case in districts 1 and 2. No numerical changes came of this recount either. “I really don’t want a recount because it is not necessary,” Marco added.
The RO of district 5, Clairmont Mingo, is also yet to determine whether the PPP/C will be allowed a recount.
The ROs for districts 6, 9 and 10 were not prepared to comment on whether or not they will grant the PPP/C the recount they are requesting, while the RO for district 7 was unavailable for comment.
Meanwhile, Executive members of the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) + Alliance for Change (AFC) coalition, Raphael Trotman and Joseph Harmon are not at all pleased by this move.
“The PPP/C is behaving childish and need to accept the results,” Trotman told Demerara Waves on Thursday evening, adding that Donald Ramotar “needs to display some level of maturity.”
Trotman explained that while the coalition is concerned by the revelation of fake SOPs he does not believe this warrants full recounts in all districts. The coalition and other political parties are yet to make requests for recounts.
Harmon is of the opinion that the PPP/C is just “frustrating the will of the people and delaying the inevitable.”
By Trotman’s word the coalition is unlikely to move to the court to attempt to block the PPP/C’s attempts at a country wide recount. Instead, he says “the people will take the charge on taking care of what they have done.”