PPP/C calls on GECOM to immediately release preliminary results

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– feels such declaration would dissipate disquiet that has seemingly engulfed Guyanese as they anxiously await results
THE People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has called on the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to make public immediately, or as soon as
possible , preliminary results of the 2011 General and Regional Elections.
The PPP/C, in a statement last night, said it feels that such declaration would dissipate the disquiet that has seemingly engulfed Guyanese as they anxiously await the election results.
Further, the PPP/C said it wishes to reiterate that its call for a recount of ballots in some polling areas must not be misconstrued as an attempt to interrupt or delay the ongoing counting process and declaration of results.
The PPP/C had also requested a meeting last night with the Chairman of GECOM, Dr. Steve Surujbally, so that it can encourage the Commission to announce the preliminary results in the interest of all.
“It is the PPP/C’s fervent wish that GECOM will consider the severity of the situation and take appropriate action,” the party stated.
The PPP/C is also calling on all Guyanese to remain calm and exercise patience as they await the results of the elections.
The official preliminary results of the November 28 poll is yet to be declared by GECOM which had indicated that, by last night, it should have been in a position to do so.
Up to midnight last night, only a small fraction of the results were released. Results were trickling in yesterday but the final preliminary results are still to be announced.
However, at separate press conferences on Monday night, and again yesterday morning, Dr. Surujbally stressed that he will not compromise accuracy for expediency, insisting that he wants to ensure that preliminary results are accurate when released.
According to him, GECOM cannot sacrifice exactitude and thoroughness nor can they compromise their efficiency on the altar of expediency to produce the elections results.
“The hard copy of the Statement of Poll is what counts…telephone results coming in from the various polling stations all over Guyana is not something that we can accept, neither will we use that…We have a process where, as the Statements of Poll arrive, it is logged in and verified, the individual Statement of Poll that comes in is scanned then verified…This is being done by Commissioners themselves…this is to ensure a high degree of accuracy,” he told reporters.
“…after the commissioners would have verified them, the Statements of Poll are scanned and saved as a backup record, after which it is transferred to the data entry centre where the data is entered then verified..After that information is verified it is sent to GECOM’s media centre and further distributed to other media houses for dissemination,” Surujbally said.
Surujbally also said that this rigorous process of verification is not to reinvent the wheel but, rather, to ensure that there is exactness in the result so that, when the results would have been issued, no one can say that there were irregularities.
And in a new development yesterday, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), widely touted to win the elections, called for a recount of votes from several polling stations in Regions 3, 4 and 10 on the grounds that its polling agents were not allowed to witness the counting of the ballots.
Efforts to get a response from GECOM were unsuccessful as the Commissioners were supposedly locked in an emergency meeting last night.
Meanwhile, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) said while it is the democratic right of the PPP/C to ask for a recount, it views this move with much suspicion.
“In the first place, the Election Agent of APNU has not been officially informed of this request as of 18:00 hrs (6:00 pm) this afternoon. Second, the PPP, having declared themselves the winner of the Presidency earlier today, it is strange that they should be asking for a recount. Third, we have no confidence that the integrity of the ballot boxes has not been compromised since the end of the official count last evening,” APNU said in a statement yesterday.
The Alliance For Change (AFC) which took a more hard line approach to the PPP/C’s call for a recount, has objected to it and expressed concern at the lack of information pertaining to the request.
“The Alliance For Change objects to the recounts of ballot boxes being hastily commissioned by GECOM and which were requested by the People’s Progressive Party. The AFC further expresses grave concern about the inadequacy of information pertaining to the recount process and the total absence of grounds on which these recounts have been requested,” the party said in a statement.
In another development yesterday, the PPP/C has vehemently rejected the charge by APNU that it is seeking to disrupt the orderly counting of Region 4 ballots.
“It is rather unfortunate that the PPP/C, in exercising its right to observe the counting process as are all other political parties, would be singled out in the ongoing misinformation campaign by APNU,” the PPP/C stated.
“To the contrary, the general public should know that the APNU has been centrally directing small groups under its control to intimidate and pervert the constitutional rights of our candidates,” the incumbent party stated.
The PPP/C said it has evidence of such blatant acts which it intends to reveal at the opportune time.
“There were several instances, which are well documented, where the Guyana Police Force had to respond and quell attempts by groups of orchestrated APNU supporters who tried to disrupt the transparent process of counting at some places of poll,” the PPP/C charged.
The PPP/C added that International Observers have made preliminary announcements which confirm that the elections were conducted in a free and fair manner.
According to the PPP/C, this further vindicates the maturity of Guyanese, who have rejected the venomous calls of violence at the urging of the APNU.
It said, too, that this rejection was further demonstrated by the fact that Guyanese continued their normal social activities during and after polling across the country.