OAS observer mission withdraws from Guyana over GECOM irregularities

OAS observer mission withdraws from Guyana over GECOM irregularities

The Organisation of American States (OAS) observer mission to the March 2, General and Regional Elections has withdrawn its delegation from Guyana with a warning that “the legitimacy of any Government that is installed in these circumstances will be open to question…This would be a terrible blow to the country’s democracy…The people of Guyana do not deserve this.”

This is according to an official missive from the OAS mission on Friday, which noted that “the process [being] employed by the Returning Officer (RO) for Region Four is not transparent and, based on the numbers that have emanated since the process was first disrupted, is unlikely to produce a result that is credible and is able to command public confidence.”
According to the OAS, the process being used by the Returning Officer to ascertain the results of the National and Regional Elections held on March 2, 2020, does not meet the required standard of fairness and transparency.

It was noted that the Chief Justice’s ruling handed down on March 11 required the RO or Deputy RO 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 OAS has since disclosed that this has not occurred, “instead, and without any plausible explanation, 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 Statements of Poll, 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.”

It was noted too that the RO’s defiance of the Chief Justice’s orders and expectations, and his refusal to allow the Statements of Poll to be exhibited, “gives credence to the allegations that the numbers being tabulated do not correspond with the numbers appearing on the Statements of Poll prepared following the March 2 elections.”

The mission further noted that that images of the SOPs published by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/Civic), on its website, which it claims were given to its polling agents after the ballots were counted at each Polling Station on the night of the elections, produce a result that is vastly different from that being declared by the RO and would have a decisive effect on the outcome of the national election.

The OAS has since also pointed out that “to date, neither the Chief Elections Officer nor APNU has challenged the authenticity of the Statements of Poll published by the PPP/Civic by producing the copies in their possession.”
According to the observer mission, “the implications are deeply troubling and make it all the more necessary for the Returning Officer to display the Statements of Poll on which he is relying.” The OAS Elections Observer Mission to Guyana was headed by former Jamaican Prime Minister, Bruce Golding.

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