In an address to the nation on Saturday evening, President David Granger said he will abide by the declarations of the Elections Commission as the vote recount comes to an end.
Noting that the recount process has four stages, which are a recount of ballots, a compilation of the report by Chief Elections Officer, review of the report then the declaration, President Granger pointed to reports of irregularities which were uncovered during the recount of ballots.
“Everyone is aware of numerous reports of irregularities including unstamped ballots, deceased and migrant voters and missing poll books. Those irregularities appear to have been committed intentionally, not accidentally, and demonstrate a pattern of manipulation of the electoral process”, the President stated.
The APNU+AFC Coalition, which is headed by the President, has dispatched a number of letters to the Guyana Elections Commission on the alleged instances of fraud and irregularities that have been uncovered during the recount. The Commission has launched a probe into some of the reports.
The President in his address said the Chief Elections Officer is obliged to present a matrix of the poll results of each electoral district together with a summary of the ‘Observation Reports’ of each electoral district to the Election Commission.
The Observation reports are the documents put together during the recount which highlight the alleged instances of irregularities and anomalies uncovered during the recount.
Mr. Granger said “it is expected that, given the exceptional interest of the CARICOM Heads of Government and the extraordinary exertions of the CARICOM scrutinizing team, their ‘report’ which will be sent to the Election Commission, will receive the fullest consideration”.
A 3-member CARICOM high-level team has been scrutinizing the vote recount process from the very start. The team which was agreed to by the President and the Opposition Leader is expected under the gazetted order of the recount to also prepare a report on its observations during the vote recount and present that report to the Elections Commission ahead of any declaration of results.
The President believes that the review of the reports on the recount by the Elections Commissioners will have to take into consideration all the evidence provided in the CEO’s report on the tabulation and observations during the vote recount. The GECOM Commissioners, he said, will also have to examine the report of the CARICOM team.
He said once that part of the process is completed, the Chairperson of the Elections Commission is expected to make a declaration of the results of the elections after studying the report of the Chief Elections officer and the Observation Reports.
“I had committed, on 30th April, that I shall accept the declaration of the results by the Elections Commission, which will allow for a democratically elected government to be sworn-in to office. I am committed to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law. I respect the integrity and autonomous nature of the Elections Commission. I will abide by the declarations of the Elections Commission as I have abided by the rulings of the Court”, President Granger said.
He also called on citizens to respect the Chairperson and Commissioners of the Guyana Elections Commission “and to desist from scurrility, vulgarity and character assassination”.
The Commission, he said, must be allowed to perform its functions in accordance with the Constitution.
There are just 74 ballot boxes still to be recounted. It is likely that all of the boxes will be completed by this afternoon, paving the way for the other parts of the process to be operationalized.
It has been over three months since Guyanese cast their ballots at the 2nd of March elections and have been awaiting the final results and declarations.