Private Sector Commission says total national recount “waste of time”

The Private Sector Commission (PSC), one of the local organisations that observed last month’s general elections, Monday night urged the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to abandon plans for a total national recount of the votes cast and instead focus on Region Four where a questionable tabulation and declared results were conducted.

“It is the considered position of the PSC, after an exhaustive examination of the facts before us, that, it is only in District 4 that the tabulation and declaration of the results by Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo, was clearly fraudulent and has no credibility,” the umbrella business organisation said. The PSC also called for Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield; Deputy Chief Elections Officer, Roxanne Myers and Mingo not to have anything to do with the recount exercise.

The PSC’s position appeared to be in stark contrast to last month’s political agreement between President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo that a national recount would be conducted. Jagdeo is on record as not opposing a recount and has said he would stand by the results and up to then the PSC had not opposed a national recount.

But the business community organisation Monday night in a surprise move said a national recount would take up too much of time unnecessarily.” The PSC is, therefore, convinced that it would be an entire waste of time and wholly unnecessary for GECOM to conduct a recount of the ballots cast in any District other than District 4.

The PSC holds that any request to extend the recount to districts other than to District 4 to be a “deliberate, unreasonable and unacceptable attempt to delay the conclusion of the recount and urges GECOM to confine a recount to District 4.”

Citing travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 virus, the PSC argued that a countrywide recount of the ballots would be “almost insurmountable”, “frivolous and unnecessary.”

The PSC also called for the recount to be broadcast live on radio and television and streamed live for international observers who are unable to be physically present at the GECOM recount proceedings.

The Chief Elections Officer was Wednesday expected to present a plan on how the recount would proceed including the required number and category of personnel.

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