The announcement that the Caribbean Community (Caricom) will oversee the recount of all votes cast in the recently concluded General and Regional elections was welcomed by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), with General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo.
Jagdeo in commending the move to have the independent high-level regional team involved, urged on Saturday that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) ensure the security of the ballot boxes until the Caricom team arrives to supervise the recount. During a press conference on Saturday, Jagdeo underscored the importance of the integrity of the ballot boxes.
“The President has said he wants that recount and I’ve accepted it; I’ve said that we want the recount. He made a request to Caricom to supervise the recount, in the presence of all the political parties and international observers, box by box,” Jagdeo said.
“And you have seen in Prime Minister Mottley’s statement, she urged that all steps be immediately taken to preserve the containers and the boxes, so there is integrity in those boxes, so no one attempts to enter them. And I urge GECOM to do this immediately, given this is the desire of the two political parties.”
He noted that to the best of his knowledge the chain of custody for the ballot boxes has not been broken. Nevertheless, Jagdeo emphasised the importance of ensuring their integrity as he extended gratitude to Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who is the Chair of Caricom.
“You have seen a statement from Mia Mottley, outlining a way forward for the conclusion of these elections and ensuring that credible declarations are made and the rightful [President] is sworn in. Let me thank the Prime Minister for the effort she has made in trying to find a way forward in this delicate situation.”
Jagdeo warned of the possible effects unless the Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) votes are tabulated and a declaration made after a transparent process. He referred to the situation as a crisis and noted that Guyana risks being an outcast on the international stage.
“It is a crisis that was man-made by a small group of people that are hell-bent on declaring fictitious, false results and then swearing in a President on the basis of those fraudulent results. You have seen so many shenanigans along the way in an attempt to prevent the verification of the results using Police tactics as well as disobeying court orders,” Jagdeo said.
He noted that on Friday evening, Guyana was heading into a “situation that would have seen Guyana being ostracised, facing sanctions and our people suffering for this. So, we’re very pleased that we have managed to chart a way forward that would be acceptable to both sides.”
Previously, Jagdeo had suggested that should there be any disputes during the verification process of the statements of polls (SoPs) from Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), then there should be a public recounting process of the ballots.
He made this comment to the media on Wednesday evening following a meeting with Mottley. She along with the Prime Ministers of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit; Grenada, Keith Mitchell; St Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, and Trinidad and Tobago, Dr Keith Rowley, were in Guyana on a two-day visit for engagements with various elections stakeholders.
Jagdeo told reporters that during the meeting with the Caricom delegation, which also included Secretary General of Caricom, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, he outlined his suggestion that should the need for a recount arise then it must be an open, public process that is done before all stakeholders.