Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 May 2020, 21:06 by Denis Chabrol
The Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Retired Justice Claudette Singh has appealed to the National COVID-19 Task Force to approve at least two more workstations in a last ditch push to increase the number of votes cast in the March 2, 2020 general elections.
“Being cognisant that it is of national importance that this recount exercise concludes as quickly as possible, it is the intention of the Chairperson to write to the National Task Force again to seek their reconsideration for an additional two workstations so that,” GECOM spokeswoman, Yolanda Ward said.
The announcement by GECOM’s Secretariat came hours after People’s Progressive Party (PPP) presidential candidate, Dr. Irfaan Ali and his delegation told the commission that it would support an extension of the 25-day deadline by one week to complete the recount of all 2,339 boxes of ballots.
The Health Committee of the National COVID-19 Task Force has already turned down a request by GECOM for at least six new workstations because GECOM staff at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre had not been complying with social distancing, wearing of masks and ensuring there is sufficient soap and sanitisers. But Ward indicated that GECOM was willing to take the risk to complete the recount soonest. “If it is that the Commission is willing to absorb some risk, then I am sure that there is a well-thought out plan in that regard,” Ward said.
Based on latest figures, the trend seems to be that now about 70 boxes are being counted daily since two stations were added from Tuesday, bringing the total to 112. On Tuesday, 76 boxes of ballots were counted and 71 boxes were counted were counted on Wednesday.
Unofficial figures show that so far 732 boxes have been counted, and two of the 10 electoral districts- Regions 1 and 2 – have been certified. But Region Four, the region with Guyana’s largest number of voters, only 182 of the 879 boxes of ballots have been counted.
The PPP presidential candidate said the GECOM Chairman remarked earlier Wednesday that she wants at least 100 boxes to be counted daily. That party’s prime ministerial candidate, Retired Brigadier Mark Phillips had said at least 93 boxes must be counted per day.