GEORGETOWN, Guyana, April 24, 2020 (CMC) – The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has received the approval of the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF), to utilise its proposed 10 workstations for the national recount of ballots from the 52-day-old elections.
GECOM’s Public Relations Officer, Yolanda Ward, told the media, yesterday, that the NCTF had agreed to eight stations, each with 14 persons and two with 10 people.
This allows for a total of 132 persons to be present, during the recount process, which is scheduled to take place at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC).
Following a visit to the ACCC, on Monday, the NCTF — Chaired by Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo — presented its report to the Commission, which also included 14 recommendations it should follow, to ensure the safety of all involved.
Ward said the protocols include: the frequency at which staff at the respective workstations should sanitise; the frequency, at which bins should be emptied; lunch hours rotation; and ensuring that windows are opened to allow fresh air.
The NCTF recommendation of sanitising surfaces, she noted, will form part of the commission’s implementation plan that will also see ballot boxes being sanitised.
GECOM met, yesterday, but was unable to finalise the draft order, which was prepared for the methodology for the implementation of the recount exercise.
Ward said that the order was prepared, against the legal framework that regarded the number of persons required to be at the recount, among other things.
“In any operations with GECOM, we have to move forward from a legal standpoint. When a decision of a national recount was considered, one of the things was, to have the protocols gazetted in an order. The order was circulated. The meeting [Thursday] was to peruse that order to ensure that it reflected the decision of the commission’s methodology for the recount,” she said.
Once that order has been finalised, she said, the commission will proceed to gazette and publish it.
Ward noted that critical to the order, is a commencement date for the recount. That date is dependent on several other factors, including a response from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which was invited to send a high-level team to oversee the process. GECOM said it has not yet received any travel arrangements for the team.