CARICOM team to oversee process
CARICOM Chairman and Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, has announced that President David Granger and Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, have agreed for a CARICOM team to oversee the recount of the all ten electoral districts.
Mottley said that the Independent High Level Team will be chaired by Francine Baron, former Attorney General and Foreign Minister; and comprise Mr. Anthony Boatswain, former Minister of Finance of Grenada, and Ms. Cynthia Barrow-Giles, Senior Lecturer in Department of Government of UWI.
They will also be accompanied by the two Chief Election Officers from Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.
Both President Granger and the Leader of the Opposition have agreed that the recount should commence once the CARICOM team is on the ground.
The CARICOM Chairman said she can confirm that all efforts are being made to have the team in Guyana as soon as possible. A further announcement will be made about the exact details once the team is on the ground.
Kaieteur News understands that the presence of the team was based on the request Granger made to Mottley during discussions yesterday morning. Jagdeo had also agreed to this.
Mottley said, “We believe that this is a giant step in being able to determine the will of the Guyanese people in the Election of March 2, 2020. It will also allow the electoral process to regain the confidence of all locally, regionally and internationally…”
She added, “I have spoken directly to both the President and the Leader of the Opposition and they have both committed to abide by the results of a fair and transparent recount of each and every ballot, as supervised by the CARICOM team.
“We also agreed that there needs to be steps taken to secure the integrity of the ballot boxes until the recount takes place.”
Meanwhile, Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) retired Justice Claudette Singh said that she welcomes the initiative and would assure that GECOM will cooperate fully with the process.
The Commission met yesterday afternoon to deliberate on the requests for the recounts. Kaieteur News had received reports that multiple requests received by GECOM for recounts of several regions were refused by the returning officers of the regions.
Following the Commission meeting, the Press was told that the Commission was ultimately responsible for GECOM’s work, and that the Commission had taken up the proposal by the President and Opposition Leader, as it is of grave importance.
This then nullifies the power of the Returning Officers.
Justice Singh said that on Friday, she gave an undertaking to the Chief Justice (Ag) Roxane George-Wiltshire that she would facilitate a ballot recount for Region Four. The Commission meeting had followed.
The Chair noted that the commitment given has now been bolstered by a request made by President David Granger to the Chairperson of CARICOM to field an independent high-level team to supervise a recount of the ballots from Regions One to Ten.
She noted that the agreement received the approval of Leader of the Opposition.