The PPP/C has emerged the clear winner of March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections following the National Recount of the final ballot box (#4877) from Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) on Sunday.
The PPP/C gained in excess of 15,500 votes over its main rival – A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC). The Statements of Recount (SoRs) for the final ballot boxes – 14 for General and 95 for Regional – now have to be tabulated.
This tabulation exercise is expected to be completed early today, as party agents have been told to return to the ACCC at 10:00h. The tabulation and completion of the recount could have both been completed on Sunday but there was a sudden and dubious technical error by the National Communications Network (NCN) – which was conducting the live streaming – that delayed the process.
Speaking to the media directly afterwards, PPP/C Presidential Candidate, Dr Irfaan Ali revealed that the entire process could have been completed on Sunday, had it not been for that untoward technical difficulty.
“I thought it would have been completed today, but there were two hours or so delay because NCN had some technical difficulties. If we had not had those delays, then the tabulation would have been over today in my estimation.”
“I want to make it clear. This phase is not over until the declaration is made. But the recount is over and we have inputted all the SoRs and the results are showing exactly what we said with our Statements of Poll. The PPP/C would win these elections by well over 15,000 votes.
Speaking also on the technical issues, A New and United Guyana (ANUG) Executive Timothy Jonas also confirmed that the process was hampered on Sunday by the sudden technical difficulties, which he viewed with suspicion. According to him, it reminds them of the controversies at the GECOM command centre, Ashmins building, High and Hadfield Streets, Georgetown, when verification of Statements of Poll (SoPs) was derailed by the machinations of certain Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) staff.
The elections recount was witnessed by representatives of all nine political parties that contested the elections, observers from the Caribbean Community (Caricom), the Organisation of American States (OAS) and local observers including the Private Sector Commission and American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham).
On March 2, the original counting of the ballots cast had proceeded smoothly and had been completed in nine regions with the PPP/C in a commanding lead.
However, the tabulation of Statements of Poll (SoPs) was interrupted in District Four (Demerara-Mahaica) after Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo switched from the legal procedure – which ensures transparency – whereby each SoP had to be exhibited to the stakeholders present to enable comparison to their copies. However, Mingo diverted to a procedure where the purported numbers from the SoPs were incorporated into a consolidated spreadsheet. This led to immediate calls for transparency from both local and international observers.
This led to the High Court case, when all the parties excepting APNU/AFC protested the sleight of hand that facilitated an inflation of the votes for that party.
Following the High Court’s decision, Mingo was ordered to revert to the prescribed procedure but he repeated his subterfuge in another guise and submitted totals that varied substantially from those of other parties and had the APNU/AFC ahead rather than the PPP/C.
The Chairwoman of GECOM, Retired Justice Claudette Singh agreed to a recount of the votes, which had been proposed by caretaker President David Granger and agreed to by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo after an intervention by several Caricom leaders. Since then, both leaders have recommitted to accepting the results of the recount.
As the recount process wound down, voices from the domestic and international community – local church leaders, the Private Sector Commission, the US State Department, Ambassadors of the US, EU, UK, Caricom, OAS have been calling for an acceptance of the recount by all the parties, leading to a peaceful transition for the new Government that has been chosen by the people of Guyana.