(NEWS ROOM GUYANA) — The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has agreed to commence the recount of votes from all administrative regions in Guyana on Monday starting with ballots from Region Four – Guyana’s largest voting district.
Following hours of meeting on Sunday, it was agreed by the Commission that the Arthur Chung Conference Centre at Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown will be the location where the recount will take place.
A site visit will be done on Monday by Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield, the high-level five-member CARICOM team here to supervise the recount and other officials.
“We are looking at a location that is secure, a location that offers logistics and perhaps comfort…The Convention Centre has facilities that are concomitant with this process,” said Opposition nominated GECOM Commissioner Sase Gunraj Sunday night following the conclusion of the meeting.
He and Government nominated GECOM Commissioner Vincent Alexander both revealed that it was the CARICOM team who suggested to kick off the recount with Region Four given the fact that it is the largest region and will work their way down to the smallest region.
“Region Four is the most contentious region, it is the largest region and in fact, I dare say that was the suggestion that actually came from the [Caricom team,” Gunraj said.
For the recount, the Commission agreed that they will utilize a document that has the hallmark of a Statement of Poll (SOP) and it will be compared to the current SOPs.
Alexander told the media that five ballot boxes will be counted simultaneously given the fact that there are five CARICOM officials. Each box will be supervised by a CARICOM official, a political party representative and a GECOM official.
There are a total of 2,339 ballot boxes which has to be recounted.
The CARICOM team will be supervising the process under the Terms of Reference (TORs) agreed to by the Commission.
President David Granger in an address to the nation made it clear that it is for GECOM to establish the TORs governing the relationship between the CARICOM Initiative and the Elections Commission.
It was the President who sought CARICOM’s intervention to supervise the national recount in agreement with Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.
That team arrived in Guyana late Saturday night on Caribbean military aircraft and met with the Chairman of GECOM Justice (rt’d) Claudette Singh, the six Commissioners and the CEO on Sunday at the Commission’s Kingston, Georgetown headquarters.
The team comprises: Francine Baron, Foreign Affairs Minister and Former Attorney General of Dominica; Mr. Anthony Boatswain, former Minister of Finance of Grenada; Ms. Cynthia Barrow-Giles, Senior Lecturer in Department of Government of UWI; and the Chief Elections Officers of Barbados and Trinidad.
The tabulation process for the vote count in Region Four has been widely condemned as fraudulent, using fictitious numbers and blurred statements.
The vote was declared last Friday night and paved the way for victory for the APNU+AFC coalition but Guyana was threatened with possible isolation and sanctions by the international community.