GEORGETOWN, Guyana, March 3, 2020 (CMC) – This morning, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) advised that it will begin providing official results, from the General and Regional Elections by midday today, revealing that the processing of Statement of Polls (SOPs) commenced, at around 2:30am, at its command center.
The Commission said it believes that by midday, there will be substantial information to present, and persons can visit www.guyanaelections.com for more information, as well as GECOM’s Facebook page for the latest updates.
Meanwhile, the APNU+AFC coalition, in a release this morning, called on Guyanese to remain calm as the country awaits the official results.
“The APNU+AFC Coalition thanks all Guyanese for the patience, which they exercised on election day, yesterday, and continue to exercise, as we await the announcement of the official results by the Guyana Elections Commission”, suggesting that citizens should continue to go about their daily activities, in a spirit of peace and optimism.
“We are cognizant that there will be anxieties for results, but we reiterate that, we must allow GECOM to do its work and await the official announcement, which are likely to commence later today,” it said, noting that all of its internal projections are positive and indicate that “we will be returned to government, for a second term, to continue the work of building and developing Guyana”.
GECOM Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, told a post-election news conference, late last night, that while there had been some developments, including a police investigation into an incident during the voting period, overall, they did not affect the peaceful atmosphere.
Lowenfield related that he is hoping that the counting process “goes smoothly and the statements, derived, are transported, and that the boxes, in which those votes are, are taken to the safe location for safety”.
“As it relates to a time for final declarations…it is the Commission’s desire to have the final declaration of results, in the earliest possible time. I will not commit to a date and time, except to say that, as the process moves, I am strongly assuming by tomorrow midday, all the ROs (Returning Officers) would have had their declarations in the respective districts. That is as far as I would go, at this point in time, relative to time elements for the final declarations,” he said.
GECOM said that it would be posting results, on a secure website, that “would go live, immediately, with updates on the tabulations and that the results would also be sent to media houses, via email.
Unlike most of the other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries, Guyana does not use the “first-past-the-post system in electing its government, relying instead on proportional representation (PR).
The political parties were required to submit three separate lists to contest, both the general and regional elections, with the elections to the National Assembly being drawn from two lists — the National Top-Up List and the 10 Geographic Constituency lists.
A total of 40 parliamentary seats can be drawn from the National Top Up list and, following the elections, the total number of valid votes cast, is divided into 40 and parties are allocated seats, according to who has the greatest number of votes.
A total of 25 parliamentary seats can be drawn from the Geographic Constituency lists, and the parties allocate seats, according to who has the greatest number of votes.
At the late-night press briefing, GECOM Chair, former Judge Claudette Singh, told reporters that the election “was a long journey, but now we are almost at the end of that journey”.
“I am very pleased today. I visited several polling stations, of course there were long lines, but the GECOM staff..…they came forward and assisted, and quickly, the lines disappeared,” she said, adding “until now we have not heard about anything untoward”.
“Of course, there were minor incidents, but nothing incidental,” she said, urging the media to refrain from engaging in any sensational reporting, regarding the elections.
“Because at this time, we are in a charged atmosphere, and so we have to be careful how we go about spreading stories. We must always verify our stories, before we publish them,” she said, warning that “these things could escalate to violence and mistrust”.