Gecom to resume tabulation of Region Four votes on Friday, silent on method

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 March 2020, 21:47 by Writer

The Guyana Elections Commission (Gecom) Thursday evening announced that tabulation of the electoral results for Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) will resume on Friday at 9 am.

However, the commission could not say whether the Region Four Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo would be using the statements of poll this time around or the controversial spreadsheet that was again rejected by political parties and other stakeholders.

“The RO (Returning Officer), as the Statutory Officer, will so advise,” Gecom spokeswoman, Yolanda Ward said when asked whether the Statements of Poll or the spreadsheet would be used.

People’s Progressive Party lawyer, Anil Nandlall on Thursday wrote Mingo telling him that he would be filing contempt of court proceedings because he refused to abide by Chief Justice, Roxane George-Wiltshire’s orders that the statements of poll must be used. One of her consequential orders states, “that in the interest of transparency and taking into consideration, the Returning Officer and the Deputy Returning Officer for District Four is to decide whether the process of determining whether the total votes cast in favour of each list in the District by adding up the votes in favour of the list and in accordance with the Statements of Poll should be restarted or continued.”

The Gecom Chairman, Retired Claudette Singh earlier Thursday said the commission’s decision on the way forward depended on her obtaining and studying a copy of the written judgment.

“In light of the written judgement by the Chief Justice,” was the only indication given on the possible way forward on Friday. Gecom further advised that stakeholders who were present and approved by the Returning Officer On Thursday to be present at the appointed time to “witness the count.”

Gecom on Thursday said the Returning Officer “in compliance with the CJ’s orders and Section 84 of the Representation of the People Act, Chapter 1:03, using information from SOPs received by him directly from the Polling Stations has compiled a spreadsheet of the
votes casted for each party.

But Nandlall told Mingo, in a letter informing him about contempt of court proceedings” that “you refused to ascertain and add up the votes recorded in favour of the list of candidate in accordance with the Statements of Poll, but instead, chose to use a pre-prepared spreadsheet, as the basis for the ascertaining and adding up of the said votes.”