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GECOM Chairman says 10 workstations for national vote recount if all materials available

The Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Claudette Singh has decided that 10 workstations would be used inside the Arthur Chung Conference Centre to recount all votes cast in the March general and regional elections.

Singh said the use of 10 workstations are “subject to the availability of the requisite equipment and technology to display the ballots.”

This was communicated to the six other commissioners by email shortly before 1pm Friday.

Singh gave no indication of how many days the recount will last and over how many hours per ballot box and hours per day. She says she has begun consultations with the National COVID-19 Task Force.

GECOM later said in a statement that the task force has been approached about “specific requests relative to the proposed working hours in light of the curfew and for guidance on the
occupancy of the identified venue.”

The GECOM Chairman justified her decision for 10 workstations on the need for “social distancing” to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Singh added that each workstation should tabulate its own results and that “for security reasons” would be located inside the Arthur Chung Conference Centre building, Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown.

Singh said she has written to the Chairman of the National COVID-19 Task Force with specific requests and that he has since responded, saying that he would convene an urgent meeting of the task force to discuss them.

Pro-People’s Progressive Party Elections Commissioner, Robeson Benn who is among his three colleagues who are calling for 20 workstations inside and outside the building has since labelled Singh’s decision “very disappointing.”

The PPP says its proposal will see the recount taking 10 days, while the coalition commissioners say with eight to 10 workstations, the count can take 32 to 64 days.

Parliament should constitutionally convene on or before April 30, 2020, four months after it was dissolved.