The Guyana Elections Commission on Saturday night announced that the Returning Officer for Region Four, Clairmont Mingo, has denied the eight requests by eight political parties for a recount of the Region Four votes.
According to GECOM, the reason given for the denial by the Returning Officer is that none of the parties adhered to the statutory timeline to apply for the appointment of counting agents and “in this regard, no counting agent was duly appointed for any of the parties and only a counting agent can request a recount”.
The move comes even as President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo have agreed to a recount of all the votes in the ten administrative regions as announced by CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister Mia Mottley.
Mottley in a statement this afternoon said the agreement was reached after President Granger reached out to CARICOM. She said a high-level independent team had been put together to fly into Guyana to overlook the recount.
But when that statement was released, the Guyana Elections Commission was unaware of any such decision. The Commission was not consulted by the two leaders on the issue and Commissioner Charles Corbin and Vincent Alexander explained this evening that the President and the Opposition Leader are outside parties who do not hold statutory authority over the Guyana Elections Commission.
GECOM called a meeting on the issue this afternoon and agreed that they will await the arrival of the high-level team and meet with its members as well as seek a meeting with representatives of the President and the Opposition Leader.
They however made it clear that the issue of a recount is in the hands of the Returning Officer.
Meanwhile, GECOM also announced this evening that the Returning Officers in Regions 2 and 3 have denied requests for recounts by the APNU+AFC. The Region Two RO declared that there was no legal basis for a recount while the Region Three RO denied the request since the duly appointed candidate was not present during the count and the person who requested the recount is not the statutory person to do so.
In Region Six where the APNU+AFC’s request for a recount was granted, the APNU+AFC has insisted that new statements of poll be used for the recount.
Those new statements of poll are stored in the ballot boxes and locked away in containers. All parties have a lock on the container. The PPP has refused to open its lock to retrieve the blank SoPs so that the recount could take place there.