GECOM says will abide by laws, procedures

Last Updated on Sunday, 8 March 2020, 15:08 by Writer

Even as the European Union (EU) said the electoral situation in Guyana has taken a “serious turn”, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has signalled its intent to comply with the law to properly declare the results of the March 2 general elections.

“While it is unfortunate how things have escalated, it is the intention of the Guyana Elections Commission to abide by all legal and procedural requirements to conclude its work,” GECOM said in a statement.

GECOM did not say whether it believed that the declaration of the Region Four results amounted to sticking to the law and procedures. The United States, Canada, European Union, Britain and France as well as observers from the Carter Centre, Commonwealth, Caricom, European Union and the Organisation of American States have called on GECOM to follow the law and procedures for verifying and declaring results for Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica).

GECOM’s assurance comes even as the EU election observation mission said “the electoral process in Guyana has taken a serious turn following the declaration of results for Region 4 before the completion of the tabulation process. ”

The EU observers reiterated that “in order to restore the credibility of the process, we once again urge the Guyana Elections Commission to resume transparent tabulation of results for Region 4 in full respect of the legal provisions.”

The Chief Justice, Roxane George-Wiltshire was Sunday afternoon was expected to rule on whether the High Court has jurisdiction to order GECOM to verify the Region Four results before they are declared. The results from the other nine regions were verified before they were declared.

Less than two hours before the High Court sitting, GECOM sought to assure that it was not contemptuous of the court proceedings because the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield wrote the GECOM Chairman Claudette Singh telling her he was finished with the results and that she could summon a meeting of the seven-member Commission.

“On Thursday, 5th March, 2020, a mandatory injunction was granted against the Commission and CEO which as a consequence impeded the finalization of the Commission’s work. The recent action of the Chief Election Officer indicating to the Chairperson and Commissioners that his report in
the relation to the final declaration was completed was not intended to disregard the Court proceedings but rather apprising the Chairperson of the completion of the document and that she may convene a meeting at her convenience. In relation to this matter, no meeting was scheduled.
GECOM remains resolute in the fulfillment of its constitutional and statutory obligation,” GECOM said.

Meanwhile, the EU also encouraged “all parties to the process to express their opinions exclusively through peaceful means and to do all possible to avoid further unrest.”