Sun | Sep 20, 2020

Report from Guyana’s chief elections officer rejected by OAS

Published:Sunday | July 12, 2020 | 12:35 AM

Deeming it as acting in bad faith and contrary to the interest of democracy in Guyana, yesterday the Organization of American States (OAS) rejected the latest report of the country’s chief elections officer which gives the win in the disputed March 2 general election to the ruling coalition party A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), in spite of a national recount.

“Let us be very clear, the only democratic solution for Guyana at this time is respect for the results of the national recount,” the OAS said.

“No other figures – neither those prepared prior to the recount, nor those recently invalidated by the Caribbean Court of Justice, nor any others that may be unilaterally devised by the chief elections officer – can have any place in the final determination of results. A new electoral process is also an unacceptable solution.”

In his report to the chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), retired justice Claudette Singh, the chief elections officer, Keith Lowenfield, listed the total number of valid votes as 475,118, giving the coalition 236,777 and the main opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) 229,330.

As a result, he has assigned the coalition 32 seats in the 65-member Parliament, 31 to the PPP/C and one seat to three of the smaller opposition parties.

But a GECOM member told reporters that the report did not reflect the results of the national recount that ended on June 9, which had the PPP/C claiming that it had won the polls by more than 15,000 votes.

Singh had instructed Lowenfield to prepare his report that would start the process of releasing the official results based on the recount.

QUESTIONABLE DATA

The OAS statement read: “The OAS notes that the chief elections officer of Guyana, in direct opposition to the instructions of the chair of the Guyana Elections Commission, has submitted a final report which includes data compiled prior to the national recount; data which had already been deemed to be questionable.

“There can be no justification for this action. As intimated in our statement of July 10, this confirms that the chief elections officer is acting in bad faith and contrary to the interest of democracy in Guyana.

“Article 1 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter states that: ‘The peoples of the Americas have a right to democracy and their governments have an obligation to promote and defend it’. It is past time that the current leaders of Guyana comply with their democratic responsibilities and allow the newly elected government to take its place.”

The regional body added that it will report the recent developments to the OAS Permanent Council in coming days.