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Intolerable that Guyanese still don’t know outcome of elections

Intolerable that Guyanese still don’t know outcome of elections

Dear Editor,

The Guyana’s Elections Commission (Gecom) charged with responsibility to conduct elections is definitely broken. People voted, polls closed at 6:00 pm Monday – today is Wednesday – and still no result has been announced.

Let us assume (reasonably) counting of a few hundred, or even a few thousand paper ballots takes a  maximum of an hour to count and record. Votes won by each party are then called in via phone and/or sent by text messages to Returning Officer (RO), who then tallies up the numbers of all polling stations of his region. These numbers are then called in to Gecom Headquarters.

One hour to count and call into Regional RO’s; another hour to tally up at Regional level and call into Gecom Headquarters in Georgetown. So, at 8:00 pm Gecom’s HQ should have the numbers from all 10 regions.

Gecom HQ now has 4-hours till the midnight hour to tally up the numbers from ten regions – prepare the tables showing votes won by each party etc – and announce the results to the nation.

What is so difficult about what I have just outlined? Hard copy Statements of Poll (SOPs) – whenever they arrive can only do one thing: confirm the numbers that have already been called in and recorded.

There should be no reason why the votes cannot be counted and tallied – and announced by the midnight hour on the day of polling. Guyana is proving that it is a sick society at too many levels.

Pundits tell me results cannot be announced until hardcopy SOPs are received in Georgetown from hinterland areas. If that takes three days or one week, so be it. That is absolutely crazy. Presiding Officers and RO’s must be professional and trained folks, sworn to perform a job under penalty of law. I have read of one RO, Clairmont Mingo who suddenly complained of tiredness – and went home. And, worse there is no deputy to take over and complete the job. So, now the whole country is waiting and wondering what is going on. And, worse there seems to be no law to hold Clairmont Mingo accountable.

Guyana is an awful country. To say the least offensive thing of the place of my birth.

Meanwhile, I have been advised that party scrutineers at each polling station know the number of votes each party won – these numbers have been reported to their party headquarters. They have done their own tallying – and both major parties know who won the elections. I have been further advised that these numbers have also been reported to all the Western Embassies in Georgetown. So, we have a situation where the diplomats in Georgetown know the results of Guyana’s national elections – but the Guyanese people themselves don’t know.

The situation I have just described makes Guyana a broken country. It is my fervent hope that the liberal democracies – ABC and EU countries – will play an enlightened role to help Guyana become a country where the Rule of Law takes hold – and become a force for developing a stable democracy.

Yours faithfully,

Mike Persaud

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