Singh Says the Commission has Delivered Free, Fair and Credible Elections
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Mar 3, CMC – The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Tuesday blamed a number of factors, including inclement weather in one of the regions, for a further delay in announcing the complete preliminary results of Monday’s regional and general elections.
But despite the setbacks, GECOM chair, retired Justice Claudette Singh, told reporters “our elections, were as promised, GECOM has delivered free and fair and credible elections,” adding, “we had a very well run elections despite all the naysayers and the many rough areas which we had to ensure to get here at this point in time.”
“I will ask you to be very patient …the results are trickling in and the process of verification is being conducted,” she said promising to have the reults announced “as early as possible …we are still verifying and singing off…”
Chief elections officer, (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, told a news conference that the process of bringing closure to the receipt of all the statements of poll (SOP) “from all across Guyana, particularly in the far flung areas” was continuing and hinted at the official results being released by Wednesday.
“Once those statements are received, the arrows will ensure the verification process continues to ensure publicly the results of all of those stations are known to all and sundry and at its conclusions those declarations will be made and no doubt as the aircraft returns to the city the statements will be delivered.
“So this is where we are as at 12.25 hours on E plus One (Election Day plus one). We are moving as I said to ensure that all those administrative processes and the need to have all the agents from the respective parties, all the observers in the districts and the media involved in those verification and the declaration”.
Lowenfield said that as far as the “official results by GECOM today that will not be possible.
“Today I expect that the declaration of all the arrows within their districts will be done. So my expectation, or the Commission’s expectation is that today on E plus One, the returning officers notwithstanding the geography of their respective districts will be competing their verifications as I said and move to declare their results today.
“Once those declarations are made in the districts, the law provides for a period of until noon of the following day for a period of recounts. Once those recounts are completed, if there are any material errors derived or arrived at from those recounts, the arrows are required by law to ensure the adjustments are made and a second declaration as it were is made to the CEO before he pieces together all the declared results of the arrows from (regions) one to 10:
Lowenfield said he then does a summation of those results “that ends up …as the final and official results of elections 2020.
“So today’s sub-set is relative to my returning officers being able to conclude the verification and move towards an official declaration that is in the public’s domain, relative to the results in those districts, ”he added.
Unlike most of the other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries, Guyana does not use the “first past the post system in electing its government, relying instead on proportional representation.
The political parties were required to submit three separate lists to contest both the general and regional elections, with the elections to the National Assembly being drawn from two lists, namely the National Top-Up List and the 10 Geographic Constituency lists.
A total of 40 parliamentary seats can be drawn from the National Top Up list and following the elections, the total number of valid votes cast is divided into 40 and parties are allocated seats according to who has the greatest number of votes.
A total of 25 parliamentary seats can be drawn from the Geographic Constituency lists and the parties allocated seats according to who has the greatest number of votes.
GECOM said that nine political parties are contesting the general elections, while 11 are participating in the regional poll.
Political observers say the contest is a straight fight between the ruling coalition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) headed by President David Granger and the main opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), whose presidential candidate is the former housing minister Ifraan Ali.
Earlier, the APNU in a statement said that it wanted to thank all “Guyanese for the patience which they exercised on election day yesterday and continue to exercise as we await the announcement of the official results by the Guyana Elections Commission.
“We implore all Guyanese, especially our supporters to continue to remain calm and to go about your daily activities in a spirit of peace and optimism. We are cognizant that there will be anxieties for results but we reiterate that we must allow GECOM to do its work and await the official announcement which are likely to commence later today.”
The coalition said that “all of our internal projections are positive and indicate that we will be returned to government for a second term to continue the work of building and developing Guyana”.
But in response, the PPP/C said that it has taken note of the coalition’s statement and said while it supports the idea of citizens remaining calm “one worrying paragraph …is where it claims that projections are positive for a second term in office.
“We urge Guyanese not to be misled. As is characteristic of the coalition, while appealing for calm, it is attempting to mislead our people. This action should be condemned,” the PPP/C said, adding that it is urging “Guyanese to not be misled by the APNU…coalition on the matter of official election results”.
The opposition party said it has informed the international observers here for the election about the situation and “:reiterates that GECOM is the only authority to declare, officially, the results of the March 2, 2020 General and Regional elections and we urge patience as the Election Commission finalises its work”.
The elections are being monitored by local, regional and international observers that have already indicated that their preliminary report on the polls will be made public on Wednesday.