Guyana Elections 2020: Granger, Jagdeo agree to CARICOM-supervised recount of All Votes

Caricom Headquarters
Georgetown. Guyana.

CARICOM Chairman and Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, has announced that President David Granger and Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, have agreed for a CARICOM team to oversee the recount of the all ten electoral districts.

— Mottley sees it as ‘giant step’ in determining the will of the people

By Staff Editor – Stabroek News –

The deal could potentially defuse a national crisis over the Region Four count from the March 2 general elections that has deepened the political and racial divide in the country, a flare-up of unrest and seen Guyana threatened with isolation by the US, UK, EU and Canada.

The crisis has revolved around the failure of the Region Four Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo to properly count the votes to the dismay of opposition parties and local and international observers.

Mingo’s recalcitrance has also raised serious questions about the role of Chief Election Officer, Keith Lowenfield and GECOM Chair Claudette Singh.

The deal between the two leaders would be seen as a major triumph for Mottley who has won kudos for a serious style of regional leadership since becoming Barbadian Prime Minister.

STATEMENT BY HON. MIA AMOR MOTTLEY Q.C., M.P. RE: CARICOM TEAM to Supervise  Guyana Elections Recount 

Barbados PM – Mia Amor Mottley

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.

Many of you are aware that I led a high-level team of Caribbean Prime Ministers to Georgetown earlier this week to meet with all of the affected parties from the recent General Election of March 2, 2020.

CARICOM has remained engaged over the last few days.
I would (wish) to announce that after discussions this morning, President Granger made a request for the Caribbean Community to field an independent  high-level team to supervise  the re-counting of the ballots in Region 4 in accordance with the ruling of the Chief Justice of 11 March, 2020.  This has been agreed to by Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo.

We believe that this is a giant step in being able to determine the will of the Guyanese people in the Election of March 2, 2020. It will also allow the electoral process to regain the confidence of all locally, regionally and internationally.

I have spoken directly to both the President and the Leader of the  Opposition and they have both committed to abide by the results of a fair and transparent recount of each and every ballot, as supervised by the CARICOM team. We also agreed that there needs to be steps taken to secure the integrity of the ballot boxes until the Recount takes place.

The Independent High Level Team will be chaired by Francine Baron, former Attorney General and Foreign Minister and comprise Mr. Anthony Boatswain, former Minister of Finance of Grenada and Ms. Cynthia Barrow-Giles, Senior Lecturer in Department of Government of UWI. They will also be accompanied by the two Chief Election Officers from Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.

Both President Granger and the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Jagdeo have agreed that the recount should commence once the Caricom team is on the ground.

I can confirm that all efforts are being made to have the team in Guyana as soon as possible.  A further announcement will be made as to the exact details once the team is on the ground.

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Comments

  • brandli62  On March 14, 2020 at 5:53 pm

    Finally this is good news! I would have however preferred a full recount of the ballots in all ten regions. It seems that President Granger and Mr. Jagdeo are fine with a recount of region 4 only. It would have also been nice, if there would have been a joint statement by the acting president and the leader of the opposition supporting the CARICOM-supervised recount.

  • guyaneseonline  On March 15, 2020 at 1:07 am

    GECOM considers national recount of votes cast
    Posted by: Denis Chabrol in Elections, Legal, News, Politics March 14, 2020 0 Comments

    Caricom Chairperson, Barbados Prime Minister, Mia Amor Mottley flanked by (left to right) the Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit; the Prime Minister of Grenada, Keith Mitchell; the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Keith Rowley and the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves.

    The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is considering an agreement by Guyana’s two major political leaders for a total national recount of votes cast in the March 2, 2020 general elections under the supervision of a Caribbean Community (Caricom) team.

    “The proposition is for a national recount,” Election Commissioner, Vincent Alexander told reporters.

    Caricom Secretary General Irwin La Rocque said Caricom Chairperson, Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados has asked him to clarify her earlier statement: “CARICOM Team to supervise the Guyana Elections recount.”

    “For the avoidance of doubt, His Excellency President David Granger and Leader of the Opposition Mr Bharrat Jagdeo had agreed to a recount of all Regions and not just Region 4,” La Rocque said.

    He said the proposed recount of votes to be supervised by a Caricom mission, was brought to the attention of the seven-member GECOM on Saturday and Caricom has been asked to provide some clarifications.

    GECOM said the Region Four Regional Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo refused requests for recounts because none of the parties adhered to the statutory timeline to apply for the appointment of counting agents. GECOM said in this regard, no counting agent was duly appointed for any parties and only a counting agent can request a recount.

    Election Commissioner Alexander said although the Returning Officer rejected requests for recounts, the seven-member commission would make decisions to cater for President Granger’s request for Caricom to conduct the recount. Caricom Chairman, Mia Mottley said she has since spoken with Jagdeo and he and Granger have agreed to accept the results of a “fair and transparent” count. “He (Returning Officer) has a statutory function but I think this matter is probably now at another level and it becomes a question of the commission which has ultimately responsibility for the work of GECOM to give consideration to the matter in the context of the evolving controversy,” Alexander said.

    Talk of a national recount surfaced earlier Saturday when A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) said it would ask for recounts in the other nine districts once there is a recount in Region Four which has been dogged by a more-than-week-long controversy over the procedure to be used for tabulation.

    “In the event any recount is granted for region four, we intend to pursue our application for recounts in regions one to ten,” APNU+AFC co-campaign manager, Joseph Harmon said in a statement.

    Opposition Leader Jagdeo has already said that he would not object to recounts in the other nine regions, several of which are APNU+AFC strongholds. “Other regions have been declared so we have gone past the statutory period for which to request a recount. But let me tell you something- my position is that should APNU want a recount in any part of this country although we have gone past that statutory period for a request for a recount, the People’s Progressive Party will accede to their request because we have a duty to allow people’s votes to be counted and, therefore, if that is a verification that APNU wants for some areas, that’s fine, let’s give them the verification and the comfort,” Jagdeo has said.

    Harmon made known the coalition’s position about two hours after Caricom Chairperson Mottley announced that President Granger asked her to send a team to oversee a recount of the votes cast in region four.

    That move follows a controversy over the transparency and credibility of the tabulation process for the votes cast in Region Four. Returning Officer for Region Four, Clairmointh Mingo Friday night declared that APNU+AFC won 136,057 and the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) 77,231 in the general elections, while the regional elections saw APNU+AFC getting 130,289 and the PPP 74,827.

    The PPP objected to the speed at which the tabulation process had been conducted and the quality of the projected images of the Statements of Poll.

    • Ramesh  On March 15, 2020 at 1:41 am

      Re Region Four;

      A recount is not good enough. There has to be a re-vote over the questionable circumstances in Region Four.

      Ramesh

  • guyaneseonline  On March 15, 2020 at 1:51 am

    President Granger and Jagdeo agree to recount all votes CARICOM team to oversee process
    Mar 15, 2020 News 0 Comments

    CARICOM Chairman and Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, has announced that President David Granger and Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, have agreed for a CARICOM team to oversee the recount of the all ten electoral districts.

    CARICOM Chairman and Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley

    Mottley said that the Independent High Level Team will be chaired by Francine Baron, former Attorney General and Foreign Minister; and comprise Mr. Anthony Boatswain, former Minister of Finance of Grenada, and Ms. Cynthia Barrow-Giles, Senior Lecturer in Department of Government of UWI.
    They will also be accompanied by the two Chief Election Officers from Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.
    Both President Granger and the Leader of the Opposition have agreed that the recount should commence once the CARICOM team is on the ground.
    The CARICOM Chairman said she can confirm that all efforts are being made to have the team in Guyana as soon as possible. A further announcement will be made about the exact details once the team is on the ground.

    Kaieteur News understands that the presence of the team was based on the request Granger made to Mottley during discussions yesterday morning. Jagdeo had also agreed to this.
    Mottley said, “We believe that this is a giant step in being able to determine the will of the Guyanese people in the Election of March 2, 2020. It will also allow the electoral process to regain the confidence of all locally, regionally and internationally…”
    She added, “I have spoken directly to both the President and the Leader of the Opposition and they have both committed to abide by the results of a fair and transparent recount of each and every ballot, as supervised by the CARICOM team.
    “We also agreed that there needs to be steps taken to secure the integrity of the ballot boxes until the recount takes place.”
    Meanwhile, Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) retired Justice Claudette Singh said that she welcomes the initiative and would assure that GECOM will cooperate fully with the process.
    The Commission met yesterday afternoon to deliberate on the requests for the recounts. Kaieteur News had received reports that multiple requests received by GECOM for recounts of several regions were refused by the returning officers of the regions.
    Following the Commission meeting, the Press was told that the Commission was ultimately responsible for GECOM’s work, and that the Commission had taken up the proposal by the President and Opposition Leader, as it is of grave importance.
    This then nullifies the power of the Returning Officers.
    Justice Singh said that on Friday, she gave an undertaking to the Chief Justice (Ag) Roxane George-Wiltshire that she would facilitate a ballot recount for Region Four. The Commission meeting had followed.
    The Chair noted that the commitment given has now been bolstered by a request made by President David Granger to the Chairperson of CARICOM to field an independent high-level team to supervise a recount of the ballots from Regions One to Ten.
    She noted that the agreement received the approval of Leader of the Opposition.

    • brandli62  On March 15, 2020 at 8:13 am

      Now things are going in the right direction. Let’s hope that this process is done in full transparency and done fast but comprehensive. Any claims of vote rigging have to be taken care by the legals means of objecting against a vote and credible evidence has to be presented.

  • BridgIt A Sam-Bailey.com  On March 15, 2020 at 11:06 pm

    Once again, I’m no politician, but I think there should be a recount of all the votes. If one region is disputed, then there should be a revoke of the nation, especially since it has been mooted that the PPP paid people $200US to cross over to them. I think that they have a team of impressionable members to adjudicate. I don’t understand why Jagdeo will not accept the results. I am appalled at the things his supporters said and did. Will there ever be peace in Guyana? I wonder. (Unedited).

    • Trevor  On March 16, 2020 at 11:55 am

      Bharrat Jagdeo traveled to the USA and Canada to bus both Guyanese immigrants, and children of Guyanese parents) to vote for the PPP. The Americans and Canadians have money to travel, hence the bloated votes in several regions.
      Bharrat Jagdeo wants to continue his drug empire and I’m not speaking of Tylenol and flu tablets!

  • Veda Nath Mohabir  On March 16, 2020 at 10:59 pm

    Police State in action

    SN: Elections recount further delayed

    PPPc Gecom Commissioner, Robeson Been, man-handled and hauled away while he was lawfully there to keep watch on the Ballot boxes

    https://www.stabroeknews.com/2020/03/16/news/guyana/elections-recount-further-delayed/

    VNM

  • Veda Nath Mohabir  On March 16, 2020 at 11:15 pm

    Media Release about a controversial member of the CARICOM team, Ms Fern Narcis-Scope; and call for revoking her appointment on the overseer team
    ……………………………..
    The Editor,

    Controversial CARICOM member supervising Guyana election results

    A Caribbean Community (CARICOM) High Level Team is now in Guyana supervising the recounting of ballots from the March 2, 2020 elections.

    One of the 5-member team is Chief Elections Officer (CEO) of the Election and Boundaries Commission (EBC) of Trinidad and Tobago, Ms Fern Narcis-Scope.

    Mrs. Narcis-Scope is a controversial figure like Guyana’s Keith Lowenfield. They both hold the same position in their respective elections supervisory administrations.

    Narcis joined the EBC in 2010. As a contract legal officer, her promotion to the CEO on September 17, 2017 was marred in controversy. It was challenged by attorneys Kent Samlal and Abdel Mohammed acting on behalf of Lena Sahadeo, the Deputy CEO.

    Having 24 years’ experience, Sahadeo believed that she was more qualified and experienced for the position, and that Narcis was her junior. It was believed that Narcis had links with the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM), but this was denied by the EBC.

    When it lost the elections in 2015, the Opposition UNC, led by Kamla Persad-Bissessar, challenged and the EBC in court. Narcis was the EBC’s senior legal adviser.

    The challenge was based on the sudden decision of the EBC to extend the time for voting from 6 pm to 7 pm throughout the country without any official notification to the UNC and its constituent parties.

    The UNC lost its case but the Court ruled that the EBC’s decision to extend the polls by one hour was wrong. Chief Justice Ivor Archie said that while the EBC did exceed its power by extending the voting time, it was not so outrageous a breach to declare the election result null and void.

    As the EBC’s then-senior legal adviser, Narcis’s judgement and integrity are questionable. She is now further compromised by being an arbitrator in GECOM that is ignoring a court injunction that credible election results must be based on the verification of the Statements of Poll (SOPs), and not on the recount of the ballots.

    I call on CARICOM to revoke the appointment of this controversial figure from its supervisory team NOW.

    Sincerely,
    Samaroo Siewah
    (address withheld)
    Trinidad and Tobago
    …………

    VNM

  • wally n  On March 17, 2020 at 4:21 pm

    Me just me…OK Why did the government involve Caricom, these people, everyone, especially Trinidadians HATE Guyana and everything it stands for. They are using their involvement for their personal/party political future.
    This fiasco could have been a chance for Guyanese to solve their own “minor” problems, yes I said minor, root is racism, the cost to the country, BILLIONS AND BILLIONS. Guyanese are a lot smarter, get together, as naive as it sounds, start growing up, we are much better, smarter, than the mini Napoleans.
    Time to leave “Village” thinking, a much larger future is waiting.

  • Veda Nath Mohabir  On March 17, 2020 at 9:44 pm

    CARICOM team leaving without a Recount. (see below)

    I smell rat here. Won’t be surprised Granger is part of this plan. Why would he want a recount which possibly would have put him out of office ( I have been wondering for awhile)?

    I think he was feigning magnanimity knowing all along that someone was going to come along to block the recount.
    …………………………

    CARICOM team leaving as court order blocks recount

    The Independent High-Level Mission (from left): Angela Taylor, Chief Electoral Officer, Barbados; Anthony Boatswain, former Finance Minister, Grenada; Francine Baron, Chair of the Team and former Attorney General and Foreign Minister, Dominica; Fern Nacis-Scope, Chief Elections Officer, Trinidad and Tobago; Cynthia Barrow-Giles, Senior Lecturer, Department of Government, UWI. (CARICOM photo)
    The Independent High-Level Mission (from left): Angela Taylor, Chief Electoral Officer, Barbados; Anthony Boatswain, former Finance Minister, Grenada; Francine Baron, Chair of the Team and former Attorney General and Foreign Minister, Dominica; Fern Nacis-Scope, Chief Elections Officer, Trinidad and Tobago; Cynthia Barrow-Giles, Senior Lecturer, Department of Government, UWI. (CARICOM photo)
    By Andre Haynes
    March 17, 2020

    The CARICOM high-level team that was due to oversee a recount of votes cast at the March 2 elections has decided to call it quits and will today depart Guyana as a court order today blocked the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) from proceeding although both President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo agreed to the process, sources this afternoon confirmed.

    High Court judge Justice Franklyn Holder today granted interim injunctions based on an application by Ulita Moore that effectively prevents GECOM from permitting a recount based on the agreement between Granger and Jagdeo, until an application for judicial review is determined.

    Moore is a regional candidate for the incumbent APNU+AFC. She is being represented by attorneys Mayo Robertson and Roger Yearwood.

    The recount of all ballots cast during the polls was expected to begin yesterday under the supervision of the High Level team–comprising Angela Taylor, Chief Electoral Officer, Barbados; Anthony Boatswain, former Finance Minister, Grenada; Francine Baron, Chair of the Team and former Attorney General and Foreign Minister, Dominica; Fern Nacis-Scope, Chief Elections Officer, Trinidad and Tobago; Cynthia Barrow-Giles, Senior Lecturer, Department of Government, UWI–from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), but the process has been stalled over questions surrounding the legality of the process.

    GECOM earlier today said it was examining the legal ramifications of the agreement between Granger and Jagdeo in accordance with the Constitution of Guyana. “While the Commission has considered the proposal and has implemented systems for the operationalization of the exercise; as a safeguard mechanism, it is necessary for all the legal issues to be properly addressed including the gazetting of the process as requested by the high level Caricom delegation. Once finalized, the counting would commence immediately.

    “The outcome of the Commission’s decision in this regard would be communicated and adequate notice on the start time for the exercise would be provided”, GECOM said in a statement this afternoon.

    Based on Moore’s application, the judge today granted an interim injunction restraining GECOM from setting aside or varying the Declarations of the Returning Officers for the 10 electoral districts or replacing the declarations until a hearing and determination of the judicial review application.

    An interim injunction was also granted restraining the Chief Election Officer from submitting any report of the total votes cast for each candidates list except for those counted and furnished by the Returning Officers under Sectio n 84(1) of the Representation of the People Act.

    The judge also granted interim injunctions specifically restraining GECOM, the Chairperson and the Chief Election Officer from permitting any persons to count or recount ballots based on the agreement between Granger and Jagdeo or GECOM and CARICOM until the hearing and determination of the judicial review application.

    The recount had been agreed to by Granger and Jagdeo in wake of the controversy over the process used by Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo to declare results for Region Four, which has prompted allegations of electoral fraud. The results would give the incumbent APNU+AFC a victory at the polls and a one-seat parliamentary majority should they stand. A court last week invalidated Mingo’s initial purported declaration after finding it to be unlawful.

    https://www.stabroeknews.com/2020/03/17/news/guyana/caricom-team-leaving-as-court-order-blocks-recount/
    ………………
    VNM

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