Private Sector Commission (PSC) Chairman, Captain Gerry Gouveia is of the view the current protracted electoral impasse enveloping the country has had a devastating impact on the national economy and has “actually affected investor confidence in astronomical ways and it could have a long-lasting effect on what is happening”.
Gouveia gave the overview outside the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC), where the PSC is represented as an observer to the National Recount of the General and Regional Elections held on March 2, 2020.
The PSC Chairman told Guyana Times that the economic impact of the electoral impasse was being compounded by the advent of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which he reported has been forcing many persons out of a job, with the possibility some businesses could go bankrupt.
“We need a legitimate government in place urgently,” Captain Gouveia urged. According to him, we need to get this with, so a legitimate government can work “with the support of Guyanese who will respect a legitimate elections and then support our government by joining hands and putting our shoulders to the wheel … to beat this virus and to beat the economic decline that is coming”.
While not being in a position to give a dollar amount in terms of the impact of the electoral crisis, Gouveia did indicate “we have heard about investments being affected”.
Speaking with reporters encamped outside the ACCC for the National Recount, on the Commission’s expectations, the PSC Chairman said he was hopeful each of the political parties would react in a responsible manner.
According to the PSC Chairman, “There are a lot of young people who need to get on with their lives, this country’s economy needs to move on, we need to have a legitimate government in place, a legitimate recognised government.”
The local entrepreneur drew reference to the fact countries across the world are being ravaged by the impacts of COVID-19.
He noted too that “the international community is funnelling money to help all the countries around the world except us, because we are in this no man’s land”.
The PSC Chairman said, “I am hoping that the political parties would embrace this in a legitimate way; the process must be legitimate, must be transparent; we must continue what is happening here until the end”.
Speaking generally to the recount process, the PSC Chairman told media operatives that while the process is being viewed as slow, “we need to legitimately answer the queries of parties”.
He sought to contextualise the process by explaining “this is a count; it is a recount of the ballots and so I believe that is the important thing”.
The PSC, in fact, lauded the work of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), and noted that the staff undertaking the exercise appears to be well-trained “and they are being very diligent and very professional and very courteous”.
He likened the activity to that which obtained on March 2, by the Commission. He said that “on March 2, when we did the observation, we found no discrepancy, there was no report of irregularity and the vote on March 2 was perfect”.
He noted importantly that when it came to the recount and the Statements generated after completing each box, those assessed thus far have not deviated from Statements of Poll already in the public domain, “we have found no discrepancies”.
Despite the slothfulness, the PSC Chairman told media operatives: “I believe that the process as it is is a good one and I think as they go on, the process will speed up…. certainly political parties have a right to their due diligence and I don’t have a difficulty with that.”
According to Gouveia, “the big thing now is the time of course.”
He posited that it would be difficult for the Commission, based on the pace at which the recount is proceeding, to complete the exercise in the 25-day timeline that had been approved by the Commission.
The PSC observer was adamant, however, that the answer to that predicament could have and should have been more counting stations, since 10 stations to count 2339 ballot boxes “is a stretch … it is going to be difficult.”