THE international observer missions from the Commonwealth, the European Union, and The Carter Center, on Friday, encouraged all stakeholders in Guyana’s electoral process to use all available means to conclude the process in a transparent manner.
In a statement issued on Friday, the international election observation missions in Guyana noted that they are “deeply concerned about the continued lack of transparency in the ascertainment of results for Region Four.”
The missions, in a joint statement, said that the orders of Chief Justice, Roxane George-Wiltshire, on March 11, were not followed. The missions stated that the tabulation process did not resume on March 12 as mandated by the court.
“When the tabulation process was resumed on March 13, 2020, it was not in line with the judgement, which required public tabulation as a safeguard and a measure for promoting transparency and accountability,” the missions said.
It was noted that the Chief Justice subsequently reasserted that the actual Statements of Poll (SOPs) have to be displayed in tabulation process for Region Four.
“The orders issued with the judgement should be complied with, and the tabulation process conducted and concluded accordingly. Unless and until this is done in Region Four, the election results cannot be considered credible,” the bodies said.
They urged all the political parties involved, to adhere to the codes of conduct they signed and to do their utmost to ensure that a peaceful environment is maintained.
Meanwhile, the OAS Observer mission has withdrawn from Guyana.
The mission said that the returning officer for Region Four did not undertake his role in the “the required standard of fairness and transparency.”
The Chief Justice’s ruling, handed down on March 11, required the returning officer or deputy returning officer to determine the best method of tabulating the statements of poll and included the expectation “that the returning officer would act reasonably in ensuring a process that allows persons to observe what is being tabulated and how.”
The body noted that the RO continued to ascertain the votes cast for each party list without affording the duly-authorised candidates and counting agents an opportunity to see the SOPs, in order to compare them with the copies in their possession. “Such a process could have been easily facilitated using the same technology which allows the tabulation to be displayed,” the body said.
The mission alluded to the controversial SOPs published by the PPP/Civic, on its website, which that party claims were given to its polling agents after the ballots were counted at each polling station on the night of the elections. The mission said the SOPs from the PPP produce a result that is “vastly different from that being declared by the returning officer and would have a decisive effect on the outcome of the national elections.”
The OAS Election Observer Mission said it was pleased to have declared that the March 2 poll was, in almost all respects, well executed. It noted that the subsequent tabulation of the statements of poll in the other nine regions was carried out in compliance with the law and no dispute has arisen in relation to the declaration of results.
The mission noted that the legitimacy of any government that is installed in the circumstances will be open to question. It said this would be a terrible blow to the country’s democracy.
The Chief of Mission will prepare his report for submission to the Secretary General.