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Regional declaration of election results still “stand” -GECOM secretariat

Despite repeated claims by members of the seven-member Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) that the 10 districts’ declarations of results were no longer valid, the Commission Secretariat said those official results were still valid.

“The declarations for all regions still stand until replaced by a new count,” GECOM spokeswoman, Yolanda Ward told News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM/Demerara Waves Online News.

In fact, the 10 declarations are posted on GECOM’s website, https://www.gecom.org.gy/.

The Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield has already submitted a report to GECOM Chairman, Retired Justice Claudette Singh for consideration by the decision-making body, but she has since explicitly favoured a recount in keeping with her commitments in the public and court.

She also disclosed that an order would have to be published in the Official Gazette before the new count starts and that was still under discussion by the decision-making constitutional body that is mandated to conduct, manage and supervise general elections in Guyana.

With GECOM already deciding that the recount would be conducted, the Chief Elections Officer was Wednesday expected to present a plan to the commission for the exercise. No date has been fixed.

Word that the declarations are still valid directly contradicts positions taken by the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP)-nominated elections commissioner, Sase Gunraj and his pro-coalition colleague, Vincent Alexander.

Gunraj has contended that the commission has already disposed of the 10 declarations by the Returning Officers and the recount is aimed at obtaining credible results of the March 2 polls. “I think we did make that decision…The fact that we are not considering it and we are now moving to a recount, I believe that the conjoined effect of that is that they will not form the basis of the results of the elections,” Gunraj has said.

Quizzed on what would be done with Lowenfield’s report after a recount, he has said “we would deal with that when we get there.”

Alexander had almost two weeks ago tabled a motion for GECOM to consider the Chief Elections Officer’s report that contains the district declarations of regional and national results. “If one looks at the procedural elements of things, there is no impediment to that report going to the commission,” he has said. However, the commission voted to set aside that motion altogether.

It is now more than one month since Guyanese voted for a government of their choice, but GECOM has not declared a winner ever since controversy erupted over the transparency and credibility of the tabulation of Region Four’s results. The Caribbean Community, Organisation of American States, Commonwealth, Carter Centre and local observers have all said the tabulation process did not comply with a High Court order and the Representation of the People Act.