APNU/AFC cannot delay declaration of results – Nandlall
…says despite refusing to certify results, GECOM still able to proceed ex parte
-GECOM counts highest daily tally of ballot boxes; to start Region 6 today
Despite questioning the credibility of the Region One results, A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) through an agent certified the results on Sunday. Moreover, People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP) agent, Anil Nandlall said that should the coalition refuse to cooperate, the process can continue without their signature.
The Region One results, showing that the PPP gained 16,018 total votes (General and Regional) compared to APNU/AFC’s 7744, was signed off by coalition agent Daniel Seeram. Persons signing off also included PPP’s Dr Frank Anthony and Liberty and Justice Party’s (LJP) Lennox Shuman. Their certification includes an acknowledgement that the votes were validly cast.
In the certified Region One results, PPP
gained 8002 votes in the General Elections and 7996 votes in Regional, while APNU/AFC was shown to have gained 3909 in General and 3843 in Regional Elections.
Back on March 3, 2020, Region One Returning Officer Trevor Harris had declared that PPP gained 8022 votes in General and 7996 votes in Regional. On the other hand, he had declared that APNU/AFC gained 3905 votes in General and 3839 in the Regional Elections.
In an interview with the media, Nandlall dismissed the claims of fraud being made by APNU/AFC agents including Aubrey Norton and pointed to President David Granger’s pledge to abide by the results. Moreover, he pointed to the fact that their own agents certified the results.
“The same thing as Election Day is happening. Their polling agen
ts signed on to the Statements of Poll. Now the officers in the tabulation centre are signing off. And you still have commentary outside of that. They can’t get their act together,” he said.
“One signs on to a document because one accepts it. Now, not because you have not signed on, it means that your absence of your signature affects the validity of the document. You can’t unreasonably refuse to sign and then say the document is invalid.”
Nandlall noted that as per legal principles, any APNU/AFC refusal to participate will not impact the process by delaying the declaration of results. The former Attorney General said that GECOM can still proceed ex parte with its work.
Before Nandlall’s arrival at the podium outside of the recount, Aubrey Norton had claimed that the overall results could not be trusted based on the discrepancies APNU/AFC alleged that included missing poll books, stamps on ballots and certificates of employment.
However, Nandlall maintained that any irregularities are due to the normal, minimal margins of error found in any election and could not materially affect the outcome of the elections. The PPP is claiming victory by a margin of over 15,000 votes.
The PPP has long contended that Government is trying, through its numerous objections during the recount and the efforts of the National COVID-19 Task Force, to delay and derail the process because of a fear of losing office.
It has been days since GECOM contacted the Task Force regarding its request to establish more workstations, a necessary step if GECOM is to complete the recount within the 25 days it is aiming for.
However, the Task Force is yet to grant or even deny approval for additional workstations. This has resulted in GECOM’s intention to increase the workstations being put on pause.
Sunday’s recount at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) saw 60 ballot boxes being counted, a record high for the recount so far, but a number the PPP contends is still inadequate if GECOM is to stick to its 25-day timeline for conducting the recount. This means that on day 12 of the recount, a total of 588 ballot boxes have been counted during the exercise.
With Region One completed and certified, GECOM has moved on to Region Five. Moreover, GECOM Public Relations Officer (PRO), Yolanda Ward later indicated that they are expected to start Region Six today.
For Region Two, 13 ballot boxes were counted on Sunday, while 15 were counted for Region Three; 14 for Region Four, and 18 for Region Five. Meanwhile, as of May 17, 2020, 543 Statements of Recount (SoRs) have been tabulated for General and 501 for Regional.
According to figures from the tabulation centre, all 198 SoRs have been processed for both General and Regional Elections in Region One. It is a different story with the other regions, however, as they have a total of 3634 SoRs outstanding in both General and Regional Elections combined.
This outstanding amount includes 36 outstanding from Region Two, which is close to completion, 429 in Region Three, 1479 in Region Four, 264 in Region Five and 756 in Region Six. Meanwhile, there are 164 to be done in Region Seven, 110 in Region Eight, 146 in Region Nine and 250 in Region 10.
In Region Four, the most contentious region, the recount as of May 17 shows the PPP/C having gained 14,272 votes compared to APNU/AFC having gained 15,418, with just 95 spoilt votes and 441 rejected.
Since the recount started, the PPP has put the coalition on blast because the Region Four numbers being uncovered were vastly different to those declared by Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo.
In fact, the PPP has contended that Mingo not only blew up the number of votes in favour of APNU/AFC but that he also subtracted votes from the PPP. Examples have been given, for instance, ballot box 4064 at Friendship Secondary School and ballot box 4063 at Garden of Eden, Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Lecture hall.
In the case of ballot box 4064, Mingo declared APNU/AFC as having won 170 votes and the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) as winning 73 votes.
However, the Statements of Poll (SoPs) in the party’s possession show APNU winning 70 and the PPP 93, while the Statement of Recount (SoR) shows APNU winning 71 and the PPP, 96. It, therefore, means that Mingo inflated APNU/AFC’s numbers by at least 99 and subtracted 23 from the PPP.
In ballot box 4063, Mingo declared APNU/AFC as winning 85 votes and the PPP, 246. However, the SoPs and the SoR show APNU/AFC winning just 15 votes and the PPP, 276. It means that Mingo inflated APNU/AFC’s votes by 70 and reduced the PPP’s votes by 30.