The leaders of at least five political parties (ANUG, CG, LJP, PPP/C, TCI) that participated in the just concluded General and Regional Elections have publicly declared that many of the Statements of Poll (SOPs) presented by the Returning Officer (RO) of District 4 do not correspond with the SOPs in their possession and that several of the SOPs presented by the RO reflect very significant increases for APNU+AFC and corresponding decreases for the PPP/C.
This, they allege, is clear manipulation and an “open hijack of the elections process”, and, I would suggest, is the very definition of electoral fraud. These allegations and characterizations have obviously had an effect on citizens, observers and missions, here and abroad, and they have expressed their concern that this matter be cleared up before any declarations can be universally accepted. The obvious question is what method is to be applied to achieve that goal. The High Court-mandated verification exercise clearly did not satisfy this demand and now the CARICOM-assisted, or supervised, recount of all the ballots cast in Region 4 will be done.
Interestingly, none of the five parties alleging electoral fraud have original SOPs in their possession, and four of the five had very few counting agents at the polling stations in Region 4 and, therefore, did not participate, or witness, the count or preparation and certification of SOPs at the place of poll; or receive a copy directly from the Presiding Officer. Many of these parties have admitted to being “given handouts with collated versions of the SOP” by another party and being forced to rely on digitalized SOPs provided by citizens and none have published a single SOP to support their contention of rigging. It would be a relatively simple matter to publish a SOP for Mahaica, BV, Kingston, Albouystown, Cummings Lodge or wherever, to demonstrate publicly where votes were stolen from the PPP/C and gifted to APNU+AFC. The objecting parties, including the PPP/C, have not offered to do so and none of those who think their allegations to be credible, have asked them to.
They seem to prefer to believe that GECOM’s internal systems for authenticating the SOPs used by the RO has been hijacked or corrupted and that the Chief Elections Officer, Chairperson and Commissioners have been compromised.
If the recount of all the ballot boxes in Region 4 do not support the allegations of GECOM misconduct and corruption would that be considered sufficient evidence of electoral fraud by those who claimed to have evidence of such, and an attempted coup d’état, or a mere misunderstanding to be followed by many more such misunderstandings?