GEORGETOWN, Guyana, March 13, 2020 (CMC) – The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) says the tabulation exercise in Region 4, as ordered by the High Court, will resume, today, as the country still awaits the official results of the March 2 regional and general elections.
“Stakeholders, who were present and approved by the Returning Officer (on) March 12, 2020, are herby informed and requested, to be present at the appointed time to witness the count,” GECOM Public Relations Officer, Yolanda Ward, said in a statement, last evening.
Ward reported that, on Thursday, GECOM Chair, former justice Claudette Singh, halted the tabulation process, soon after the Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo, recommenced the exercise, in keeping with a ruling by the High Court, on Wednesday.
Acting Chief Justice Roxanne George had, in her ruling, nullified the earlier declaration by the Returning Officer, ruling that his declaration was unlawful. She ordered a return to the process, but made it clear that it will be the Returning Officer, who will be in charge of the process and who will decide on the method or type of process to be used for tabulation.
“It would be for the Returning Officer, and/or the Deputy Returning Officer, to decide whether, in the interest of transparency, the addition process should be restarted or continued, from where it was left off. It would also be for these functionaries to determine the best method of tabulating the Statements of Poll.
“Again, it cannot be for the persons present to indicate how this should be conducted. So, I want to emphasize, that everybody else, who think they can have an input or a say, it is not their statutory duty,” the Chief Justice said.
In the GECOM statement, Ward said that, in compliance with the Chief Justice’s ruling, Mingo, using information from the statements of poll (SOP), “received by him, directly from the polling station, had completed a spreadsheet of the votes cast for each party”.
“However, the methodology, presented by the Returning Officer, was not accepted by the stakeholders present,” Yarde said, noting that, as a consequence, the GECOM Chair “intervened and explained that she is in receipt of an Order of the Court and not a written judgement”.
Singh noted that the High Court’s admonitions are in the written judgement and she has been “promised a copy of that document”.
“In that regard, it has been suggested that the process be discontinued and recommenced, when the Chairperson has received and studied the written judgement,” Ward added.
In its latest statement, GECOM gave no indication as to what process would be used in the tabulation exercise, that should have started at 9.00 am (local time). But, as Pride goes to press, at 9:56am, the tabulation has not begun.