GEORGETOWN, Guyana, April 10, 2020 (CMC) – Chief Elections Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Keith Lowenfield, has been tasked with revising his 156-day, draft work plan for the national recount of the ballots from the recent, delayed and disputed election.
The new, revised plan has to be resubmitted, in time for when the commission meets again.
While a timeline for the commencement of the recount has not yet been decided, the commission, at a meeting yesterday, decided on the use of the Arthur Chung Convention Centre for the recount, the involvement of the representatives of political parties, and the respective roles GECOM officials will play.
Government-appointed Commissioner, Vincent Alexander, said, however, that there were no discussions on the 156-day proposal, submitted by the CEO, for the duration of the recount.
The main opposition, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) said, on Wednesday, the 156-day proposed timeframe was “simply ridiculous”, and described it as another attempt to derail the electoral process and thwart the will of the electorate.
On Thursday, Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, in a live, video media conference, said the party was instead, proposing a 10-day recount, starting with the country’s largest voting district, Region Four.
But following yesterday’s GECOM meeting, Alexander said there were two factors Lowenfield had used in arriving at the 156 days.
The first, he explained, was the amount of time for the counting of the ballots. The other was that the CEO had taken into consideration, a proposal made by PPP/C-nominated Commissioner, Robeson Benn, that the operation be conducted using three work stations, each covered by two of the six commissioners.
“So, it is very unfortunate that, the CEO, who tried to work in conformity of what we said, is then lambasted,” Alexander told journalists.
Regarding the involvement of a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) high-level team in the process, Alexander reiterated that it would act as a third party, to give “credence and credibility” to the process.
Alexander said the commission will be relying on Article 161 (b) of the Constitution and Section 22 of the Representation of the People’s Act, and “will start from ground zero to carry out the recount”.
He said, once there is a declaration of the results, the previous declaration would become null and void.