Home Letters The Statements of Poll are authentic proof
In the March 2020 elections, the abusive, repulsive and disappointing behaviour of the administrative staff of the GECOM Secretariat exceeded expectations. Among these was the deliberate refusal of the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) to produce original GECOM Statements of Poll to which he had access, that would have clarified beyond any doubt, a position which the Statements of Recount revealed and save our citizens unreserved stress and taxpayers millions of dollars.
The outright defiance of CEO Keith Lowenfield and persons under his command was used to denigrate and make a mockery of acceptable precedence, as well as a basic understanding of our elections laws. The authority of the Commission itself was allowed to be usurped and undermined to the extent that a point was reached where the CEO operated as a god unto himself. It was no doubt unsurprising that when required, the Commission could not instruct Mr Lowenfield to provide even a sample of the Statements of Poll for random validation purposes.
The elections petition laid before the High Court is about a flimsy attempt of the Opposition to capitalise on the deliberate attempt to derail the election process which was jointly created by the PNC/APNU/AFC and their forces in GECOM. This time around, however, GECOM and the PNC-led cabal must produce their Statements of Poll. Chief Justice Roxane George has significantly ruled that the Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield and by extension GECOM has to lodge all Statements of Poll (SoPs) and Statements of Recount (SoRs) with the Registrar of the Supreme Court for safekeeping.
From the general public’s feedback, this has not gone down well with the thieves on the Opposition. Some have argued that this ruling was not necessary but the fact is that with the overwhelming irrational behaviour of this cabal, nothing can be left to chance. Of note, PPP/C attorney Mendes reminded the courts that the Representation of the People Act allows the CEO of GECOM to destroy all elections documents after twelve months have elapsed.
As a consequence, Lowenfield will have to produce the SoPs that he hid and was hoping to eradicate. There is a sense that he would be found wanting for failure to produce, confirming that the likes of this kind of creature must never lay feet in the annals of GECOM again. Further, it will be interesting to see what they will produce for safekeeping since it is clear that the spreadsheet manipulating of the SoPs was put into operation in 2015.
It is recalled that in 2015, a similar execution of the false spreadsheet fiasco occurred at the tallying of the SoPs. PPP/C counting agents including myself were present at the GECOM building when the Returning Officer, Melanie Marshall, switched from using the actual SoPs and started to call the “numbers” from a “wicked and falsely” prepared spreadsheet. Our agents, Attorney Charles Ramson, Omar Shariff and I protested vehemently against the false figures and declarations read from the spreadsheet resulting in the process being adjourned. It was unfortunately never recommenced.
In 2020, however, it must be noted that “rigged elections” was again high on the PNC agenda. This time, a united Opposition along with the diplomats and the foreign and local observers were very vigilant and they stood united and strong against the “rigging” of the elections. Thank God that the leadership of the PPP and their willingness to accept the path of peaceful struggle for free and fair elections or our country would have deteriorated into an uncorrectable land of civil unrest and warfare.
The long bitter and frustrating five months punctuated with a thirty-three days long National Recount, all give rise to a “free and fair” result that would have long been avoided if the CEO had brought forward the legal SoPs. He should be surcharged and placed to rot in jail by the Courts when the investigations are all over with.
The Statements of Poll are indeed the most valid proof of the results and the courts have implied that they will consider these as key evidence to the petition. It is known that they are properly prepared by trained personnel and authenticated with the signatures of the respective Presiding Officers and the party Polling Agents. The process is one that engenders overwhelming and indisputable monitoring and therefore cannot be merely cast aside.
It is of note that early in the first week of March the PNC/APNU/AFC declared that the elections were free and fair without any flaws. However, after those riggers were stopped in their tracks, the Guyanese people had to endure “court cases after court cases”. Time will tell and our people are healing in the present environment, but the culprits and dangerous riggers must be brought to justice. The Statements of Poll are authentic proof of the true elections results!