The Citizenship Initiative (TCI), one of the 11 political parties that contested the March 2 General and Region Elections, has stated that Friday’s tabulation process of the results from Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) was “egregiously flawed” and marred with “glaring discrepancies”.
To this end, the party has submitted a notice for recount. It’s Presidential Candidate, Rondha-Ann Lam, is now calling on the Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Justice (ret’d) Claudette Singh, to ensure that the recount is conducted.
See below for full statement issued by TCI today (March 14, 2020):
The Citizenship Initiative (TCI) wishes to acknowledge both the technical completion of the counting process for Region 4 as well as the glaring discrepancies in the process that render the final results an unreliable and inaccurate indicator of the will of the people.
Throughout this process, Mr. Clairmont Mingo has engaged in an active dereliction of his duty as Returning Office for Region 4 and has carried out his statutory obligations in contempt of the general judgment and specific declaration of Chief Justice (ag) Roxanne George. For those who are not aware of Mr. Mingo’s actions in the wake of a very direct and clear judgment from the CJ, we summarise:
- Mr. Mingo attempted to use a spreadsheet in contravention of the CJ’s orders to use certified SOPs in the ascertaining of votes.
- When this was opposed, he then resorted to a clerk reading out from what he purported to be SOPs but which where not visible to any eligible person there, including both observers and candidates. The numbers he called for polling stations which information (via photographs of SOPs) were in our position did not match our information. He denied both candidates and observer requests to view the SOPs directly. He was then served legal notice to appear before the Chief Justice in order for him to comply with her orders.
- When he returned, instead of arranging for video-equipment in the Ashmin’s building to view and project the SOPs that his clerk was reading from, he stopped the process for over two hours and announced that he would be moving the operations to a location with better media facilities. It should be noted that the Ashmin’s facility had a fully functioning media centre capable of fulfilling the declaration of the CJ.
- The facility eventually settled upon at GECOM was less suited for the process Mr. Mingo was obligated to carry than those at Ashmin’s. The source documents scanned and projected appeared to be photocopies of SOPs, the projected images were blurry, the projector some distance away from where observers and candidates sat, and there were no clear signatures on the documents projected. More importantly, numbers on many of the purported SOPs appeared to be doctored and were again not in concord with the independently sourced SOPs in our possession.
I personally committed to staying throughout the entire process and so what is being offered is a firsthand account of what took place. We are a small party, but we are not alone in our perception of how this process unfolded. Every single international observer mission, bar none has commented upon and condemned GECOM’s conduct over the past week.
We urge Guyanese to consider the future of this country if this fundamental process by which we select our leadership is allowed to remain as flawed as it currently is.
The Citizenship Initiative therefore believes that the process yesterday was so flawed and tainted that the last logical next step to restore any credibility to these elections is that a recount has to be undertaken and in full public scrutiny beginning from the unsealing of the ballot boxes to the final, credible declaration of the results. We have, in keeping with the Representation of the People Act, submitted our request for a recount before the statutory deadline of noon today.
We are asking that Chairperson Justice Claudette Singh ensure that a recount, as she has committed to, take place as the process yesterday was so egregiously flawed that the result cannot be taken to be in itself an accurate representation of the will of the people.