APNU+AFC relying on CARICOM scrutineers’ help to determine election credibility; PPP’s lead narrows to 7,000 votes

Last Updated on Thursday, 4 June 2020, 20:17 by Denis Chabrol

(from left) Ambassador Colin Granderson, Mr. Sylvester King; Ms. Cynthia Barrow-Giles; and Mr. John Jarvis. (Caricom Secretariat picture)

A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) on Thursday said it was looking forward to a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) observer mission stating whether the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections reflect Guyanese choice of their elected representatives at the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections.

Delivering a statement to a select group of pro-government media, he indicated that the coalition was depending heavily on the three-member CARICOM team to pronounce on whether the votes were legitimately cast.

“We want to ensure that the validity of every vote that was cast on the 2nd of March , 2020 can stand up to a test and that test is that it was validly cast by persons who were entitled to vote on that day.

This is what the CARICOM mission will have to help us to determine – whether, in fact, valid votes were cast and whether, in fact, what they are seeing is a true reflection of the will of the Guyanese people,” he said in a statement. He said after the recount is completed, the Commission would have to consider reports by the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield and the CARICOM scrutineers.

The CARICOM scrutineers are Ms. Cynthia Barrow-Giles, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Government at the University of the West Indies (UWI),; Mr. John Jarvis, Commissioner of the Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission and Mr. Sylvester King, Deputy Supervisor of Elections of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

At the same time Harmon, who is APNU+AFC election agent, publicly issued an ultimatum to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to address a wide range of concerns  by Friday, June 5, 2020. These are rejected ballots, no use of oaths of identity, and substitute voting in the names of deceased persons and persons who were overseas on March 2, 2020,

He suggested that the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) election commissioners- Sase Gunraj, Anil Nandlall and Bibi Shadick- were not making themselves available for a meeting of the seven-member commission to address APNU+AFC’s concerns outlined in more than 12 letters. “The PPP elements on the Elections Commission are enforcing delays on the pronouncement on these issues. We will have to get a decision from GECOM on this matter and we are serving notice that we expect a decision on these matters by the end of Friday, 5th of June, 2020. They must say to us how they will treat with these matters,” he said. If at least two commissioners are absent, there is no quorum and a meeting cannot be held.

Harmon said if GECOM does not provide definitive answers by the close of Friday, the coalition would seek a meeting with the Commission.

Unofficial results published by The Citizenship Initiative  (TCI) political party on the website, , show that up to the close of count on Thursday, June 4, 2020, the PPP’s lead against APNU+AFC narrowed from more than 15,000 to 7,073 with 2,063 of 2,339 boxes of ballots counted.

TCI representative , Shaz Ally, who is  at the recount exercise being conducted at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown , predicts that the remaining 276 boxes of ballots will be recounted by Monday morning.

PPP sources  say that votes from its traditional East Coast Demerara strongholds have not been counted yet and this will almost certainly see the PPP widening the gap between its nearest rival , APNU+AFC.