…as APNU agent ends recount 2 hours early to head home
…Region 4 SoRs confirm accuracy of PPP-released SoPs – Nandlall
Day one of the National Election Recount has been completed, and after 10 hours of counting, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has confirmed that 25 ballot boxes and 50 Statements of Recount (SOR) have been processed. These statements are for both General and Regional vote counts.
This was GECOM’s position at close of the count, as articulated by Public Relations Officer Yolanda Ward. In an interview with the media, she noted that seven boxes were completed in regions One (Barima-Waini) and Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara); six in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), and five in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica).
But in a day marred by several controversies, Ward explained that Wednesday’s hiccups are likely to be resolved and the pace increased today when the recount resumes.
“The exercise did not start on time for a number of reasons. Of course, we indicated from the start that it would be a very security conscious environment. It is important for us to have security at such an activity. Also, learning from our previous experience,” she said.
“We also had to do a briefing of all those present, to ensure persons know where the respective work stations are, to provide the details of the modus operandi and our expectations for this activity. So now that everyone is aware of what the expectations are, we anticipate that persons will arrive on time to go through security checks.”
However, another factor in the slow pace of the recount was the premature stoppage of work at Station Nine – District Four (Demerara-Mahaica), where after counting just two ballot boxes, the station called it a day without opening the next box.
It has been reported that A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) agent Carol Joseph actually intervened to have the count stop shortly before 17:00h because of the distance she would have to travel to get home. The recount hours are fixed from 08:00h to 19:00h, with just 24 days left to count the boxes if GECOM adheres to the timeline set.
In an interview with the media, People’s Progressive Party (PPP) executive and accredited agent Anil Nandlall, slammed the premature stoppage. According to him, another ballot box could have been counted by time the actual close of the day.
“Once the issues of the first day are identified and corrected, then the speed will increase dramatically. But you have certain deliberate decisions which are being made that are not encouraging.
“Station number nine has closed operations already, two hours before the scheduled closure of today’s work, and that is totally unacceptable. I was told that Carol Joseph, who was part of that station, indicated that she has to travel all the way to West Coast Berbice (WCB) and she requested that the operation close prematurely.”
APNU+AFC Commissioner at the Guyana Elections Commission, Vincent Alexander, (GECOM defended the move to stop the recount early, noting that it was done for security reasons.
said if the station had started another box, the exercise would have lasted beyond the scheduled 19:00h time of conclusion.
Both Nandlall and Alexander have expressed concerns over the slow pace at which the recount on day one was done.
Statements of Recount
In his interview with the media, Nandlall was also confident that based on the SORs that have been compiled, the authenticity of the PPP’s Statements of Poll (SOPs) are being vindicated. He noted that they match the numbers coming out on day one of the recount.
“By and large, the process has confirmed the accuracy of the PPP’s Statements of Poll. By and large, 99 percent of what has been done today vindicates the accuracy of the SOPs,” Nandlall informed the media.
Each party that contested the general and regional elections would have copies of the SOPs, the official record of votes cast at a polling station, in their possession. As the two largest parties, the PPP and APNU/AFC are expected to have all.
However, only the PPP has released almost 900 SOPs, which show them winning the elections by more than 15,000 votes. The APNU/AFC has continued to keep theirs a secret.