It is now clear to all that GECOM and APNU are complicit in preventing a transparent tabulation of the Region 4 votes, or to allow a recount of the votes.
The Chairman appears to have abdicated her responsibility, and seems incapable of commanding the release of information or directing what has been clearly articulated by the Courts. At this time, most persons have moved to focusing on the recount of the votes. I would like to state that this option, while the final test, does not negate a proper tabulation of the votes for Region 4, for a proper tabulation in line with the law and the Chief Justice’s ruling has never been done.
We all know that the tabulation twice completed by Regional Officer Mingo is not credible. The spreadsheet exercise and the opaque display of “SOPs” at bullet speed, where no one could question or validate the process or inspect the SOPs, are all well known facts.
The tabulation was fraudulent and farcical. We know that neither GECOM nor APNU have released the SOPs for Region 4. Not even the Board of GECOM appears to have an official copy from GECOM.
The EU has written GECOM asking for a copy of the Region 4 SOPs, but to date have received nothing. But we all know that on the day of elections, GECOM, the main political parties, many of the small parties, the international and local observers, and the Police, all received some or all of the SOPs.
The PPP have published these SOPs for Region 4 along with the Tally Sheets. No one has disputed these numbers. Some of the small parties, including Change Guyana’s Nigel Hinds, who independently of the PPP obtained about 160 SOPs for Region 4, have confirmed publicly that their copies are in line with that of the PPP, but differed from that called out in the “bullet train” tabulation that Mingo effected.
So, it is not too late! Have the Chief Justice order a proper completion of Section 84 of the Representation of the Peoples Act (Chap 1:03) and have the SOPs shown to all, so that a proper tabulation can be completed.
Complete the “contempt proceedings” against Mingo, and extract a clear written directive on how to comply with her earlier ruling of last week, which was so blatantly ignored by Mr. Mingo and company. This proper tabulation can proceed in parallel with the matter before Justice Franklin Holder, dealing with a recount of votes.
The recount of Region 4 votes can also be done. My fear is that all the APNU and GECOM antics may still scuttle this process. Given that GECOM is compromised, I fear that once the various containers are opened, there are many forces at work that may scuttle a proper completion of a proper recount. Such risks include attempts to torch the ballots, bomb scares, fumigation, relabelling, mixing up the ballots, power outages, confusion with the ballot boxes when they are removed from the container. These are just a short list of the APNU/GECOM playbook.
With the GECOM and APNU actors retaining any form of responsibility, and given that they are still intent on preventing a proper count, there are innumerably more possibilities to derail a proper recount when compared with the tabulation exercise. And with the observers and parties not being treated to a fair and transparent process, and many gone with the COVID-19 exit, who will say if this process will be properly completed?
In the circumstances, I believe all efforts should be made to maintain both avenues open to obtaining the truth. A proper tabulation is much less difficult that a vote recount; yet this has been thwarted at every stage. Imagine what they can do to a less-than-independent ballot recount.
Of course, if all the observers and non-Government parties were to meet, independent of GECOM, to do a Region 4 tabulation, we know the result. But since they are not part of GECOM, the statutory body empowered to declare the result, but which organization today has so clearly lost their independence and obligation to be fair and impartial, a third-party exercise is academic.
Any layperson knows that the PPP has won by over 17,000 votes. It is for this reason that not a single observer or Party has disputed the SOPs released by the PPP. It is for this reason that all have seen the many statements from the international observers and other Parties condemning the GECOM process as a farce and lacking credibility and transparency.
Let’s keep all options on the table. Do both a proper tabulation of the SOPs and recount the votes.