GEORGETOWN, Guyana April 17, 2020 — The national recount of votes, cast in the March 2, General and Regional elections, will see the use of no more than 10 work stations, Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), former Justice Claudette Singh, has advised.
In an email to the six commissioners this afternoon, Justice Singh stated that her decision takes into account all of the circumstances, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the requirement of social distancing.
She explained, her decision is also subject to the availability of the requisite equipment and technology to display the ballots; that each work station should tabulate its own results; and, for security reasons, all work stations should be located, inside the Arthur Chung Conference Centre building.
The Chair revealed that she has written to Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo, who is also Chairman of the National COVID-19 task force, with some specific requests.
The Prime Minister has since indicated that an urgent meeting of the task force will be convened, to discuss those requests, and a response would be provided, shortly.
In light of this decision, GECOM said the recount process will commence in the shortest possible time.
The elections body had said, earlier, that it would be seeking a waiver of the 6pm curfew, implemented by the government, in its fight against the novel coronavirus, to facilitate the recounting process, which has been proposed to be, between 9am and 5pm, daily.
The decision by the Chair, today, has brought the compromise, sought by the CARICOM, which had expressed concerns, yesterday, over a 20-work station proposal, by PPP/C-nominated commissioners.
CARICOM had also raised the issue of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the threats, posed by personnel coming together, with 20 workstations.
The decision also falls closer to the proposal, made by government-nominated commissioner, Vincent Alexander, who had suggested the use of eight workstations.
The 20 work station proposal by the PPP/C, envisioned stations being set up, outside of the conference centre, a move Alexander had stressed would have posed serious security risks, as well as a possible recurrence of what he said was, the “mob situation” that occurred at the Ashmins building, last month.
“This is the concern that I had raised, on several occasions, when raising my own proposition. The calculation shows that if we were to have 20 work stations, we would have somewhere in the vicinity of 300 persons assembling. It is my humble opinion that, in the context of COVID-19, you cannot have 300 persons in one place at this time,” Alexander had said, yesterday.