Former Executive Member of A New and United Guyana (ANUG), Jonathan Yearwood told the Elections Commission of Inquiry (COI) that the process of tabulating and verifying the votes cast per party in Region Four went downhill after the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), IT officer, Enrique Livan took over the process at the Command Centre at the Ashmins Building.
According to him, the numbers called by Mr Livan and another GECOM staff, during the wee hours of March 5, 2020, were simply not corresponding with the votes cast per party as stated on the Statements of Poll (SOPs).
“The two gentlemen started the verification process and within a very short period of time, we realised that numerous mistakes were being made,” Mr Yearwood told the Commission as he was questioned by the Commission’s Attorney, Senior Counsel Sophia Chote.
The former ANUG Executive explained that Mr Livan and his colleague took over the tabulation process at around 1:20am that day after the Deputy Returning Officer and another female colleague, one of whom was pregnant, had halted the tabulation process at around 9:30pm on March 4, 2020. The women had complained of feeling tired.
It was noted that prior to the arrival of Mr Livan and his colleague, the process was going smoothly, and the number of votes cast per party was corresponding with the SOPs the various party agents had.
“We got annoyed about it because earlier everything was going okay, and now we are getting large amounts of mistakes, and we were very upset about it,” Mr Yearwood explained.
Mr Yearwood said the party agents present, which included the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), ANUG and other smaller parties, objected to the numbers being called by Mr Livan, but were ignored.
The former ANUG Executive said from where he sat, he could not have seen the content of the document from which Mr Livan was calling out the votes cast.
“We saw that he had a document in his hand, that appeared to be a Statement of Poll; whether he had a document in front of that, I have no idea but what we do know, is that the numbers that were being called out were not the numbers reflected with what we had,” he explained.
To support his statements, Mr Yearwood presented a copy of a SOP for which he had photographed.
It is alleged that after the party agents repeatedly objected to the numbers of votes announced per party, Mr Livan and his colleague left the room with a computer and flash drive, and went into another room.
“I saw him take the flash drive from the laptop that was on the desk, that was recording all of the information that he called out unto a big screen, where the other gentleman was recording all the numbers that were being called out; that flash drive was taken with Mr Livan when they left the room,” he detailed.
The police were called in, and in the presence of the then Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, Assistant Police Commissioner of Police, Edgar Thomas explained that should the police seize the computer and flash drive, it would stall the tabulation and verification process.
They reportedly agreed to recommence the process but the numbers were still not adding up, which further agitated the agents of the various parties. It was then that the then Chief Election Officer brought the process to a stop, with a promise that it would recommence at 9am that day.
Mr Yearwood is the third witness to appear before the three-member-commission inquiring into the highly disputed 2020 elections.