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Announcement of preliminary elections to begin Tuesday evening; GECOM warns parties against claiming victory

A GECOM Consultant displays a copy of some of the results that have been processed so far

by Zena Henry

Even as the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) prepares to announce actual results at 6 PM Tuesday, May 12 its Chairman Dr. Steve Surujbally has warned political parties against claiming victory before the final results are declared.

The body told media personnel during a press briefing at their media centre that they are in receipt of over 1,500 of the 2,229 Statement of Polls coming in from across the country.

While GECOM did not give any hint as to who seems to be winning the race, the body explained that the information continues to be verified and tabulated for presentation. The agency noted however that while the information began coming in at snail’s pace, the speed improved overnight. “We have received and are currently processing from districts 4, 5, 6, 2 and 3. We have received at the Command Centre all of the statements from region four. This morning we are almost complete with district five.”

In that district he noted, there are still statements from rivering areas. The Majority of region six has also been received while the West Coast and West Banks have been completed in Region Three.

Meanwhile, Statements from the Essequibo Islands and surrounding areas are still to come in. The Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield told reporters that in some areas inclement weather has hindered the timely departure of voting statements so that it can reach the election agency; the only body permitted to give the official election results.

GECOM’s Chairman Dr, Steve Surujbally in his address noted therefore the danger that lies with political parties disseminating information of their win. The Chair opined that, “Anyone coming out with statements saying his party has won, is playing a dangerous game and is not to be taken seriously.” He said it is only GECOM that will give that result.
When asked about an impatient society anxious for the results almost 12 hours after voting Surujbally said that, “If it takes time to get the results, you must have patience, the nation must have patience, “ he insisted.

Canada believes that the elections were “smooth, credible and free and fair” and urged Guyanese to await official results to be announced by GECOM. “I urge all Guyanese and stakeholders to practice patience and to allow GECOM to now do their work to deliver the official results. It is important to remember that the only official results are those that are tabulated and issued by the designated, official elections body – GECOM,” according to a statement issued by GECOM.

Surujbally’s statements come even as both the Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) and the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) + Alliance for Change (AFC) Coalition Tuesday morning released statements expressing confidence that the final result will be in their favour.

GECOM Commissioner Vincent Alexander told a news conference that “We have not had glaring errors. We have had, from what I have experienced, a few arithemtic errors…I don’t think the number collectively could be considered glaring or the amount or the value of the error could be considered to be glaring but even in that instance those have been referred for corrections,” he said.

Additional reporting by Chevy Devonish and Denis Chabrol