“At no point did the leadership of the Guyana Election Commission (GECOM) halt or rectify blatant instances of disregard for the rule of law and electoral ethics, despite its vested authority to independently ensure credible elections.”
This is according to the details of a statement issued by the Commonwealth Observer Group (COG), one of the missions deployed to observe and monitor the March 2, General and Regional Elections. In its statement disseminated to the media, the observer group chronicled the irregularities encountered post- elections.
“It is the clear and considered view of the Group that the tabulation processes conducted by the Returning Officer (RO) for Region 4, Clairmont Mingo, were not credible, transparent and inclusive,” the COG asserted.
The series of events that the Group observed in the tabulation of Region 4 results between the 3rd and 14th of March are of grave concern, they expressed. They were keen to note specific issues which included the repeated cessation of the tabulation process for a variety of “irregular reasons”; two unlawful declarations made by Mingo; the continued failure of the RO to comply with the March 11 rules made by the Chief Justice; and the RO’s refusal to provide the Statements of Polls (SOP) during the resuming of the tabulation exercise.
The group disclosed that it did not observe any material or substantive impediments inside the tabulation room, which might have prevented the resumption of the tabulation process. However, they were keen to highlight that the robust exchanges between political party agents in the room only occurred when GECOM repeatedly halted the tabulation process.
“Despite the serious and persistent electoral malpractice observed by the Group from 3-14 March, the Group welcomed the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) initiative, at the invitation of President David Granger, to deploy a High-Level Team to Guyana, to supervise a recount of the ballots,” the COG related.
However, that high-level team withdrew from Guyana after being unable to complete its duties following an interim injunction, and the COG expressed regret in this regard.
The Group, which withdrew from Guyana on 15 March, is expected to submit its full report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will forward it to the Government of Guyana, the Chairperson of GECOM, leaders of political parties, and to all other 53 Commonwealth Governments.