When a person feels that he has been cheated, he will protest. When a people feel that they have been cheated, there will be unrest, chaos and the breakdown of law and order. A New and United Guyana believes that this must be avoided at all costs, and that this lies in the hands of Gecom.
Section 84 of the Representation of the People Act requires that the Regional Officer for each of Guyana’s 10 regions must ascertain the total number of votes cast by adding up the Statements of Poll in the presence of the representatives of the political parties and other observers who are entitled to be present. In regions 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, the Regional Officers ascertained the total number of votes cast by adding up the Statements of Poll in the presence of those representatives and observers.
The result was a total of 152,121 votes for the People’s Progressive Party, and 100,682 votes for A Partnership for National Unity – a lead of 52,561 votes for the PPP.
Therefore, APNU needed to win in Region 4, the sole remaining region where the process had not begun, by 52,563 votes. But APNU had won in Region 4 in 2015 by only 43,000 votes.
Clairmont Mingo is the Regional Officer of Region 4. He was required to ascertain the total number of votes cast by adding up the Statements of Poll in the presence of the political parties and other observers and this was to be done at the Ashmin Building, the Region 4 Office, in Hadfield Street. All the party representatives were there. All the observers were there. The physical Statements of Poll were there. Representatives, observers and SOP’s were in a room in the Ashmins Building for three days, nobody leaving, waiting for Clairmont Mingo to do his job.
Clairmont Mingo did not ascertain the total number of votes cast. He got sick and went to the hospital. He got better and came back. Minister of Foreign Affairs Cummings came to Ashmins Building and threatened to revoke the accreditation of the observers. Gecom declared a bomb scare and asked everyone to leave the building. Mingo tried to conduct his ascertainment using a spreadsheet of unknown origin rather than the SOP’s which were sitting in the room. But the representatives and observers remained in the room with the SOP’s and would not leave. They would not accept the spreadsheet, and that attempt was as unsuccessful as the bomb threat and the Minister.
Then, Clairmont Mingo retired to another room for several hours.
Then, Clairmont Mingo appeared on the second floor of the Ashmins Building and stated that he was going to declare the count for Region 4, and proceed to read his declaration of that count. He had not at any time ascertained the total number of votes cast in the presence of the party representatives as required by section 84. The Statements of Poll remained lying in the room – untouched and unreferenced by Mingo.
There was a protest. The representatives and observers waited for Claudette Singh, the Chairwoman, to appear. She did not appear. She remained inaccessible upstairs in the Ashmins Building.
Many hours later, the police cleared the building, and all the representatives and observers were removed. Only God and the compromised Gecom personnel know what has been done with the Statements of Poll.
Clairmont Mingo’s declaration gave the APNU a miraculous lead in Region 4 of sufficient votes to give to APNU the elections and a majority in Parliament. The People have been cheated. The People feel cheated. There has been unrest. There have been incidents. If any person is harmed in the unrest, if any property is destroyed in an incident, Mingo must live with his conscience.
Gecom is the entity responsible for the conduct of the elections. Gecom is led by Chairwoman Claudette Singh. The Chairwoman remained hidden during the entire episode of Mingo’s actions. If Gecom acts on Mingo’s declaration, it is the Chairwoman and her Commission who must receive the report of the Chief Election Officer and inform the Chancellor to swear in the new President. Claudette Singh cannot now choose to hide. She must issue a statement. She must appear before the nation and inform the People whether Gecom has decided to insist that Mingo do his duty, or whether Gecom is going to accept Mingo’s action and ignore that one half of the People feel they have been cheated.
While Claudette Singh remains in hiding, remains silent, tensions will grow. Suspicions will grow. There will be unrest. There may be incidents. And Claudette Singh will have to live with her conscience.
A New and United Guyana calls on Claudette Singh to address the nation. To speak to the People. The People are entitled to hear from her whether Gecom has received any report from the Chief Election Officer, whether Gecom will accept Mingo’s declaration, or whether Gecom will insist that the Statements of Poll for Region 4 must be ascertained by Clairmont Mingo in the presence of the party representatives and of the Observers in accordance with the law. The People are waiting.