Update: Granger, Jagdeo may sign agreement tonight for vote recount in all 10 regions -sources

Last Updated on Monday, 16 March 2020, 18:13 by Writer

President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo are Monday night expected to sign an agreement containing the essence of their decisions and discussions after which the national recount of votes cast in the March 2, 2020 general elections is expected to begin, sources said.

The well-placed sources said the agreement was necessary especially because the Chief Justice, Roxane George-Wiltshire had only considered matters for Region Four and the Returning Officers for several regions had already refused requests for recounts.

The sources said it was critical for an agreement to be reached to conduct a recount of the other nine regions. “This is to give the commission (Guyana Elections Commission) leverage to do the recounts in all ten regions,” the source said.

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) says the recount cannot begin unless there is a signed agreement between President David Granger, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo and the Caribbean Community (Caricom). “While the Commission has considered the request in principle and has approved, a signed agreement between the Leaders and Caricom is essential in order for the process to be operationalized,” GECOM said in a statement.

GECOM spokeswoman, Yolanda Ward told News-Talk Radio Guyana/Demerara Waves Online News that she did not know at what stage were arrangements for the signing of the agreement.

Mr Jagdeo told News-Talk Radio that at 5:24pm yesterday, he received an informal diplomatic message from the Caricom Secretary-General, Irwin LaRocque. Mr Jagdeo said he replied at 5:30pm with his comments.

“This aide memoire is about things we discussed and agreed to and should not have been contentious,” said Mr Jagdeo.

He described as “disgusting” the situation in which the members of the Caricom supervisory team for the recount were taken away from their jobs and families for almost two days and shuttled to Guyana but have been unable to get down to work. “I find this very disgusting that Mr. Granger will ask for the team to come down as a matter of urgency” but the national recount has not started.

Mr Jagdeo reiterated that the GECOM Chairman, Claudette Singh should go ahead with the recount of votes cast in Region Four in keeping with commitments she had given.

Shortly after 3:30 this afternoon, a shipping container of ballot boxes and other electoral material left the GECOM headquarters for the Arthur Chung Conference Centre where the recounting will be conducted.

Last night, the Caricom team that will be supervising the recount, the Secretary General and the Guyana Elections Commission hammered out a terms of reference and workplan for the review.

Caricom Chairman, Mia Mottley earlier this month led a team of regional prime ministers who met with Granger and Jagdeo. Shortly before they left Guyana, Ms Mottley stressed that “every vote must count”.

Following the March 2 general elections, the United States, Britain, Canada, European Union, the Commonwealth, Organisation of American States, Carter Centre and the Caricom observer missions have all expressed grave concern about the lack of transparency and lack of credibility in the tabulation of results for Region Four.

On Monday, the Commonwealth and the Organisation of American States (OAS) have welcomed the decision by President Granger to ask Caricom to help with supervising a national recount of votes cast in Guyana’s general elections earlier this month.