Results from recount numbers will be credible – OAS
The Organization of American States (OAS), which has a local presence at the ongoing National Recount, says it has no reason to doubt that the results that will
come out of the process will be credible.
This statement comes on the heels of the incumbent A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) saying on Wednesday that the results from the recount cannot be credible, given the high “incidence of fraud”. The party has claimed that votes were cast in the name of dead and migrated persons, and as such, is calling for the March 2 elections to be nullified.
However, in a statement on Thursday, the OAS, of which Guyana is a member, said, “Despite some inconsistencies in the electoral materials reviewed during the recount, as is normally the case in any electoral process, the OAS Mission has no reason to doubt that the results emanating from the recount will be credible. A declaration based on these results would lead to the installation of a legitimate government.”
According to the 33-member hemispheric body which deployed an Elections Observation Mission (EOM) to monitor the March 2 elections, “The people of Guyana have been patient, and they now deserve a peaceful transition of government based on the majority vote as reflected in the recount and in support of democracy and the rule of law, which all OAS member states expect to be upheld.”
With just about 242 ballot boxes remaining to be counted, the recount exercise is expected to be wrapped up early next week ahead of its June 13 deadline, and three days later, on June 16, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is expected to make a final declaration of the results of the General and Regional Elections that were held more than three months ago.
The OAS said in its missive on Thursday that its international election observers have been present at the recount centre at the Arthur Chung Conference Center (ACCC) each day of the National Recount and reported that the review of the ballot boxes is being conducted in “a professional, transparent and impartial” fashion, which allowed members of GECOM, political parties and other stakeholders to accurately determine the results for each polling station.
Reminding that, at the invitation of President David Granger and with the agreement of Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, the recount is being conducted in the presence of three high-level and well-respected scrutineers from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the OAS recalled that both Guyanese leaders had agreed to accept the results of the recount as final.
The recount has thus far unearthed massive fraud from Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), Guyana’s largest voting district. It has found that embattled Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo heavily inflated numbers in favour of the APNU/AFC, giving the incumbent Coalition a landslide lead over the Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C).
The OAS was among electoral observers, both local and foreign, that have deemed the Region Four results as lacking transparency and credibility. In fact, former Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding, who had led the OAS EOM to monitor Guyana’s elections, last month presented his preliminary report to the Permanent Council of the OAS, during which he said he had “never seen a more transparent effort to alter the results of an election… You know, it takes an extraordinarily courageous mind to present fictious numbers when such a sturdy paper trail exists, and this is being illustrated now as the recount proceeds.”
According to the OAS Secretariat in its statement on Thursday, its EOM has repeatedly requested copies of the Statements of Poll (SoPs) prepared at each polling station on election night, and the Statements of Recount (SoRs) prepared during the current process, in order to do its own analysis of the original and the recounted results. This, it said, is amidst the several challenges experienced in the 2020 electoral process, particularly concerns about the presence of inaccurate information.
“Access to these materials is guaranteed by the Electoral Procedures Agreement signed between the OAS and GECOM on February 26, 2020. Regrettably GECOM has refused to provide the Mission with these important documents,” the organization noted.
Only Wednesday, Guyanese-born international diplomat Sir Ronald Sanders warned that Guyana could be suspended from the OAS as well as the Commonwealth if the ongoing National Recount of the ballots cast at the March 2 elections does not produce a government that reflects the majority vote.
He said, “Guyana risks also being suspended from the Organization of American States, but not just being suspended, the Organization of American States will also have to determine what other action it may take at a bilateral level of its 33 Member States acting against Guyana”.
Sanders cautioned that it only takes one or two member countries to decide whether sanctions should be imposed, as he reminded that both the United States and Canada are also OAS members.
The two North American countries have been pushing for credible results of the March 2 elections, and warned of consequences if this is not done.