GECOM must now declare winner based on recount – US, Canada Govt officials
…GECOM to meet today
The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is scheduled to meet at 13:30h today where it is expected that the Commissioners will discuss the judgment of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and will again pave the way forward for the declaration of the elections result.
The meeting was confirmed by GECOM’s Public Relations Officer, Yolanda Ward.
Meanwhile, Acting Assistant Secretary for US Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Michael Kozak, on Wednesday evening said that Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) must now declare the winner of the results based on the recount results. Kozak made the remarks on Twitter following the ruling handed down by the Caribbean Court of Justice.
“The @CaribbeanCourt has ruled. It’s time for #GECOM to declare the winner of Guyana’s election based on the national vote recount,” Kozak tweeted. “The will of Guyana’s voters cannot be ignored,” he added.
Additionally, Assistant Deputy Minister for the Americas of Global Affairs Canada, Michael Grant has described the ruling handed down by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as “important”.
Grant further noted that it is now time for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to make a declaration based on the recount results.
Grant tweeted: “Important ruling today from Caribbean Court of Justice on Guyana. It’s time for the election results to be announced by #GECOM based on the recount. No more delays.”
The last meeting of GECOM, prior to the series of legal challenges, was on June 18 when Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield was expected to submit his final elections report in accordance with Article 177 (2) (b) of the Constitution and Section 96 of the Representation of the People Act, Chapter 1:03.
However, that meeting was suspended after Lowenfield failed to honour his constitutional duty. The meeting also lacked a quorum at that time since two of the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC)-nominated Commissioners – Charles Corbin and Desmond Trotman, failed to attend the meeting.
According to Article 226 of the Constitution, the quorum for a meeting of the Commission shall be the Chairman and not less than four members of the Commission – two each appointed by the President and the Opposition respectively.
“If at any stage of a duly summoned meeting, a quorum is not present due to the absence of members without good cause to be determined by the Chairman then the meeting is to be adjourned for two calendar days. If the meeting was to determine the declaration of the results of the presidency, and there is no quorum, then the meeting shall be adjourned to the next day. If at the adjourned meeting, there is still no quorum then, the members then present, being not less than four members including the Chairman, shall be deemed to be a quorum and any decision made at any such adjourned meeting shall be valid and binding,” the Constitution states.
Sources with intricate knowledge as to the functioning of GECOM told Guyana Times that the Chairperson, Retired Justice Claudette Singh could forge ahead with the meeting even if the APNU/AFC-nominated Commissioners decide to boycott.
On June 18, Lowenfield was served with a Notice of Motion, which was scheduled to be heard in the Court of Appeal on June 19. That motion was heard and adjudicated by the Appeal Court, which ruled that GECOM should determine the validity of the votes and the constitutional phrase “more votes are cast” can be interpreted as “more valid votes are cast”.
That ruling was set aside by the CCJ, which found that the Court of Appeal exceeded its jurisdiction when it sought to interpret the gazetted recount order – Order 60 of 2020 and not Article 177 (4) of the Constitution.
Lowenfield was advised to submit the report after Justice Singh decided that she would go ahead with the declaration of the certified results from the recount exercise, which showed that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) won with 233,336 votes. The recount numbers show that the PPP/C won the March 2 poll with 233,336 votes cast in its favour. The APNU/AFC secured 217,920 votes. For the new parties, the numbers are as follows: A New and United Guyana – 2313; Change Guyana – 1953; Liberty and Justice Party – 2657; People’s Republic Party – 889; The Citizen’s Initiative – 680; The New Movement – 244; and the United Republican Party – 360.
However, on June 23, despite a stay by the Court of Appeal, Lowenfield presented a report containing numbers which do not reflect those certified at the national recount, which was deemed credible by a high-profile team from Caricom.
In fact, the fraudulent figures included in Lowenfield’s report do not even correspond with the numbers he had concocted in his first report to the Chairperson. In the first report, Lowenfield claimed that the APNU/AFC won 125,010 votes while the PPP/C won 56,627 – disfranchising some 60 per cent of the electorate on mere allegations that their votes are “invalid”.
Lowenfield’s latest report validates votes he would have previously invalidated; the CEO presented numbers that give the APNU/AFC coalition 171,825 votes while the PPP/C gained 166,343 votes.
How he arrived at those figures is unknown, since the certified results from the legally-conducted recount exercise supervised by GECOM and a high-level Caricom team showed that the PPP/C won the elections.