Opposition political parties reject GECOM, NCN staff solely controlling live streaming
…say at least one private entity should be involved
The major opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) and seven of the other small parties that contested the March 2 elections are vehemently objecting to the decision of the Guyana Elections Commission to allocate the live streaming responsibility for the recount to the State-owned National Broadcasting Network (NCN) working in conjunction with staff from the GECOM Secretariat.
The national recount, which is expected to last for a minimum of 25 days, commences today at 08:00h and is being conducted at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) located at Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown, from where it will be streamed.
But the opposition parties are insisting that at least one private broadcasting entity should be involved with the live streaming.
According to the parties, the State media as a whole has been giving very partisan, sycophantic coverage to the PNC-led APNU/AFC Government since they took office but this has been ratcheted up after the elections process grounded to a halt when embattled Returning Officer (RO) Clairmont Mingo corrupted the tabulation process on March 4, in favour of the coalition. This led to the acceptance by the GECOM Commission that a recount of the ballots needed to be conducted and live-streamed to the public in order to instil some confidence in the process given a widespread feeling of ‘betrayal’ following the actions by RO Mingo.
Typical of the blatant bias by the State media, it was pointed out is the editorial in Monday’s edition of the Chronicle newspaper – another State-owned entity – that the coalition’s demand for the recount to be an audit had been accepted by the GECOM Chair when in fact it was not.
The opposition parties believe that to place sole responsibility for a process that demands integrity and impartiality cannot be at the sole discretion of a proven biased entity. At a minimum, they insist the Government mouthpiece should be joined by one of the independent broadcasting entities that have the capability to conduct the live streaming.
Meanwhile, Public Relations Officer at GECOM, Yolanda Ward on Tuesday revealed that the recount process will be streamed on the Election Commission’s Facebook and YouTube pages as well as on its website at www.gecom.org.gy
According to the recount order published by GECOM on Monday, provisions are made for each of the 10 workstations to be equipped with facilities to capture and broadcast a picture of the ballot box depicting the state in which it is delivered to the workstation.
In addition, there will be an audio stream of the recount of the ballots, while the tabulation process will be live-streamed.
During the course of the 25-day recount, the Railway Embankment between UG Road and Conversation Tree, Bel Air, will be closed to vehicular traffic from 06:00h daily. This closure became effective on Tuesday until further notice.
Persons proceeding to the Caricom Secretariat at Turkeyen, and persons residing to the east of the Convention Centre will be given access to enter the Embankment from UG Road, while those residing to the west will be given access from Bel Air.
Additionally, the compound of the Aquatic Centre will be used to facilitate parking for the observers, agents and other officials.