Unverified Region 4 results
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has assured that in the current political atmosphere, where democracy is under threat, the situation can be retrieved.
This comes as acting Chief Justice Roxane George proceeds today to hear the injunction filed by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic to prevent the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) from using unverified data to declare the General and Regional Elections results.
Jagdeo on Monday gave assurances that there will be a return of democratic rule to Guyana as he urged persons not to pay heed to the coalition’s empty claims surrounding the electoral process and voters’ count.
“I want to urge people that not all is lost. This is a retrievable situation. Do not listen to the propaganda of APNU. Suddenly, they have their propagandist saying that in some regions, the votes were more than those and the total votes that the PPP got was more than the number of electors on the list. Well, they had a chance to verify that. Not even APNU has made that suggestion because if they say which region, people can easily go to the Statements of Poll,” Jagdeo outlined.
GECOM’s journey to deliver free and fair elections was rutted last Thursday, after the Returning Officer of Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), Clairmont Mingo, unilaterally declared the results for the district without completing the ongoing verification process of the Statement of Polls (SOPs).
This resulted in former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall quickly moving to the High Court for an injunction to stop the declaration of the results. On Saturday acting Chief Justice Roxane George heard legal arguments from both GECOM and the applicant. GECOM’s lawyer contended that the High Court does not have jurisdiction to deal with the issue during an ongoing election but rather any legal challenge should be filed via an elections petition following the declaration of the elections result. However, on Sunday the Chief Justice was adamant that cognisant of certain restrictions, there is precedent where the court’s supervisory jurisdiction can be invoked to ensure the smooth operation of elections proceedings or process and “a court cannot shirk its duty in this regard.”
Having found that there was prima facie evidence to support the court having jurisdiction to hear the matter, she ruled in favour of the application and held that the injunctions against GECOM be maintained as absolute, until a final determination of the matter.
Attorneys for GECOM have since been given up until this morning to file an affidavit in response, after which the litigation will continue.
Meanwhile, APNU/AFC has requested a recount for Regions Five (Mahaica-Berbice) and Six (East-Berbice Corentyne) and this was granted but the PPP/C’s request for same in Region Four was denied.
Jagdeo, who is also the party’s General Secretary, indicated that the PPP welcomes a recount in any of the ten regions, since the results would still prove their victory.
“If they want a recount in many of the regions although they have declared the results, the PPP does not have a problem with recounting every single vote across the country because we know it will show a win for the People’s Progressive Party. If they want to do that in Region Four too, we can go back to the boxes and do that,” he said.
Meanwhile, the security of the ballot boxes has been a factor of concern, but he indicated that they have been monitoring its safekeeping.
“That is why we’ve raised with the international community the safety of the ballot boxes. They’re aware of it. They were assured that they’d be protected. But we have people looking at these boxes and the international community has said to us that they too are observing it seriously.”
Representatives of six political parties held a joint press engagement on Thursday evening, where they called on the international community to not recognise an “illegal” David Granger Administration—should he be sworn in—and for sanctions to be instituted.
The sanctions being called for are not against the country but rather individuals in the Administration—sanctions such as the restriction of movement and the freezing and seizing of assets owned overseas and that revenues from Guyana’s oil reserve be held in a safe account until the country can resolve its current political brouhaha.