The recount of votes is heading into the homestretch and the Guyana Elections Commission is expected to make a decision tomorrow on the more than 21 ballot boxes that were opened and found to contain none of the statutory documents that should have been in them.
Most of the boxes are from the Montrose, La Bonne Intention and Chateau Margot communities.
Box after box, the counting agents were forced to remark that the recount of votes could not be validated because of the absence of statutory documents.
Those missing statutory documents included marked lists, folios, spoiled ballots, damaged ballots, and proxies. In some cases, there were oaths of identities signed for voters but the information was not recorded in the poll books.
For those recounts, the PPP did not sign onto the observation report.
Based on at least 21 of the boxes in which statutory documents could not be found, the PPP had over 4500 votes while the APNU+AFC gained just over 700 votes.
At a press conference today, APNU+AFC Executive Member and Candidate Joe Harmon said the Elections Commission must address what he called the clear cases of fraud. Mr. Harmon said the opening of ballot boxes along the lower East Coast of Demerara in strongholds of the PPP is proving to be the “genie in the bottle”. He said the lower East Coast appears to be the epicenter of the all the alleged fraud committed in the elections.
He expressed worry about the votes that have not been validated still being sent to the tabulation centre.
“These are major issues that concern the credibility of this process and I want to make this very clear that what is taking place at the tabulation centre is a tabulation of those votes. So, when it is announced as valid, we have an objection to that because a valid vote is a vote which has been tabulated and which has gone through a process of assessment taking into consideration the observation and objections which has been made,” Harmon stated.
He further added “that is a very obnoxious position that anyone can take to say that these are valid votes. I am happy to see this morning our team brought to our attention several other boxes with the same issue. So, it is going to be a challenge in my view for the commission to come to a definitive position where these votes are concerned.”
The People’s Progressive Party today dismissed the APNU+AFC concerns. PPP General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo said his party remains confident that it will emerge victorious at the elections.
Mr. Jagdeo accused the APNU+AFC of clutching at straws in an effort to challenge the credibility of the process.
In a statement this afternoon on the issue of the ballot boxes with no documents, GECOM Public Relations Officer, Yolanda Ward said once a Statement of Recount is produced, it is forwarded to be tabulated.
She noted, however, that there are some objections to those boxes that were found to be without statutory documents being included in the tabulation at this point in time.
Ms. Ward said the Elections Commission will meet tomorrow to determine the way forward and a decision will be made known to the public.