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GECOM reinvites CARICOM as site visit planned for national vote recount venue

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 April 2020, 19:27 by Writer

The Independent High-Level Mission (from left): Ms Angela Taylor, Chief Electoral Officer, Barbados; Mr Anthony Boatswain, former Finance Minister, Grenada; Ms Francine Baron, Chair of the Team and former Attorney General and Foreign Minister, Dominica; Ms Fern Nacis-Scope, Chief Elections Officer, Trinidad and Tobago; Ms Cynthia Barrow-Giles, Senior Lecturer, Department of Government, UWI.

The seven-member Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) on Tuesday invited the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to again send a team to help scrutinise the recount of votes that were cast in last month’s general elections, election commissioners confirmed.

“We have taken a decision to reengage them. They have been communicated with. We do not, as yet, have a feedback as far as I know,” Election Commissioner, Vincent Alexander said following a Tuesday meeting. He explained that the CARICOM team would not be coming to observe the recount.

They also said a visit to the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown, is expected to be made on Wednesday to ascertain how many counting stations can be accommodated for simultaneous counting.

Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield had last week calculated that a national recount would take 156 days if three counting stations are used, but the People’s Progressive Party (PPP)-aligned election commissioners have said the recount could take 10 days with 20 counting stations working 10 hours daily.

A GECOM spokeswoman confirmed to News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM/Demerara Waves Online News that the letter to CARICOM Secretary-General, Irwin LaRocque, asking for a team to be dispatched to help validate the recount as credible and transparent, was dispatched on Tuesday.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley has already said the same team that went to Guyana last month for the aborted recount would most likely be asked to return. They had included the Chief Elections Officers of Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Controversy continues to linger over the credibility of the March 2, 2020 polls because of widely-held deep suspicions about whether the tabulation process for Region/District Four was riddled with irregularities.

Amid intense international pressure, GECOM decided to conduct the recount but at the same time the 10 declarations and the Chief Elections Officer’s report have not been quashed.