The recount of votes for the 2020 elections got off to a late and slow start this morning as the political party agents, GECOM staff, observers and other stakeholders gathered at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre.
The actual recount started at around 10 o’clock this morning after a briefing session from the Chief Elections Officer and some other housekeeping matters.
There was some drama from the very start as the Elections Commission was forced to cut open the locks from one of the containers as the People’s Progressive Party could not locate the keys for its lock on the container. All of the stakeholder’s agreed to the cutting open of the container.
There was also the issue of one ballot box being found drenched in rainwater that may have seeped into the container. That box was drained and it was unclear whether its contents were all readable.
Once the actual recount got underway at the ten workstations, party agents could be heard over the live audio stream making queries and seeking clarifications on various issues.
By 1:20 pm when most of the counting stations took a break for lunch, only one ballot box had been completed in each station.
There are 2239 ballot boxes to be counted and GECOM has set itself a 25-day timeline.
APNU+AFC Agent, Carol Joseph told reporters that her counting station took just over three hours to complete the count for its first box.
“That might be the average because you will have stoppages and you will have people querying things and there are some people there who are just there and don’t know what they are doing there you know”, Smith said.
She said there were some discrepancies noticed in the ballot box at the counting station she worked and those were reported to the GECOM staff doing the recount.
Leader of the Liberty and Justice Party, Lennox Shuman complained that some of the boxes that came out of the container for the recount were not brought out in a sequential order in terms of their numbers and he believes that created some confusion. He also accused some of the party agents of making attempts to disrupt the process.
Another small party leader, Gerry Perreira of the Organization for the Victory of the People said he did not notice any major problems with the start of the recount.
He said as a party agent, he looked on at the process between two of the ten workstations.
During the morning session, PPP Executive member and elections agent, Anil Nandlall told reporters that the fact that two months after the elections, the nation is still waiting for the final results and going through another process for the results shows that there is still the need for a maturing of the nation.
The recount process will continue this afternoon and for the next 24 days. The official Facebook page of the Elections Commission is carrying the live audio stream from all ten workstations.