Prove alleged voter irregularities- GECOM Chairman

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 May 2020, 16:22 by Denis Chabrol

GECOM Chairman, Claudette Singh; Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield and other commission staff about to visit polling places at the Brickdam Police Station. (File picture)

The Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Retired Justice Claudette Singh on Thursday said those who are alleging irregularities in the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections would have to prove their case.

“While I continue to monitor the trends based on the allegations in the observation reports; I am of the view that, he who asserts must prove,” said Singh.

At the same time she  indicated that the seven-member Elections Commission has not yet discussed fully the way forward with the numerous objections that are being filed during the recount of the estimated 400,000 votes that were cast for the presidency, 65-seat National Assembly and 10 regional councils.

In what is clearly a rare statement issued in her name, the GECOM Chairman said, “in this regard, when there are considerable deliberations and decisions at the Commission in relation to claims of anomalies; the outcome would be officially communicated to the political parties and other stakeholders particularly, the media.”

The statement was issued to publicly scold People’s Progressive Party (PPP)-aligned Elections Commissioner , Sase Gunraj for informing the media that the GECOM Chairman said that she did not believe that it was GECOM’s role to probe claims of anomalies.

Justice Singh’s statement came several hours after executive member of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Retired Rear Admiral Gary Best , and former executive member, Attorney-at-Law, James Bond made known their positions on the recount exercise that seems set to now end during the first half of June, 2020 based on the current daily rate of just over 70 boxes of ballots.

“The results of the March 2020 elections cannot be about numbers only. More importantly it has to be about whether the process that led to the numbers was credible. So far the data shows the process was not credible,” Best said on his Facebook page.

Bond went as far as calling for fresh elections to be held in Region One (Barima-Waini) and Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) because of “glaring discrepancies, some big boulder discrepancies.” He claimed that 4,673 votes or 50 percent in Region One have been called into question. Further, he said 47 Certificates of Employment of GECOM polling day staff that entitled them to vote at polling stations they worked on election day could not be accounted for as only three were found.

On the East Bank Demerara in Region Four, Bond charged that 23,000 votes were questionable. He noted that at Craig Primary School and Craig Nursery School, East Bank Demerara, there were 53 emigrants on the list.

On Wednesday, APNU+AFC representatives refused to sign the Certificates of Tabulation for Region 2 (Pomeroon-Supenaam) votes, saying that there was mention of “valid votes”  which contrasted to a number of objections that were filed during the recount exercised.

Commissioners Vincent Alexander and Sase Gunraj have said a party’s refusal to sign the Certificates of Tabulation would not invalidate them.

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has not been highlighting its objections, instead stressing that the numbers from the recounts are almost identical to those on Statements of Poll for the regions except for Region Four where there have been glaring discrepancies between the recount figures and the tabulation done under the leadership of Returning Officer , Clairmont Mingo.