Many have cast aspersions on the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) report presented to the GECOM Board. On June 13, 2020 when Mr. Lowenfield presented his report to GECOM stating in summary it cannot be ascertained the recount results meet a criteria of fair, credible elections, in keeping with the Recount Order. Those ready to jump down his throat said he must present an outcome or result. They argued that despite missing, supporting documentation (tantamount to fraud) to go with some 1300 ballot boxes, almost 55 per cent of the electorate, Mr. Lowenfield and GECOM cannot allow an annulment of the elections. So on June 23, 2020, having been almost forced to produce a final result from the overall discredited report, the CEO produces a report based on his judgement, knowledge and experience what he believes to be realistic numbers, giving credibility to now about 75 per cent of the ballots. Those who clamored for a result, now switched to the other side of their mouths including Western Nations and other observers, and began discrediting this approach.
Almost simultaneously as the matter went through the courts, Court of Appeal and Caribbean Court of Justice, the very Western Diplomats, OAS, CARICOM Leaders, US Congressional and Senate members, and CARICOM Secretariat, seized upon the opportunity to cite the CARICOM Report as giving credibility to the elections recount process. However, the CARICOM Report is at best duplicitous; its Executive Summary differs from its recommendations, which then differs from its conclusions, even within themselves. Some of the main examples include:
“Nothing they witnessed warrants a challenge to the inescapable conclusion that the recount results are acceptable and should constitute the basis of the declaration of results of the March 2, 2020 elections.”
“Yes, the recount suggests that the poll was far from perfect but the imperfections cannot deny that the elections and therefore the recount were reasonably credible.”
“It therefore, behoves whichever political party emerges victorious from these elections …”.
So if these external bodies and governments are asking GECOM to comply with the CARICOM Report to decide on a declaration, it remains completely unclear what GECOM has to do. Further, both main parties have speculated that the CCJ will likely return judgement in favour of GECOM itself deciding the next move. Given the various scenarios presented by the CARICOM Recount Report, the CEO’s Report and wide ranging powers of GECOM, it is my judgement that Lowenfield and GECOM Secretariat have the two options, one, annulling the results and setting a timeframe for new elections.
The other option, perhaps most realistic and credible in the unchartered circumstances we find ourselves in, is an interim declaration in favour of the current administration on the basis of the CEO’s initial submission on 13 June 2020 or 45 per cent of deemed credible results, APNU+AFC: 125,000 to PPP/C: 56,000. But, this declaration is conditional on a bi-election taking place within 12 months, for the remaining 55 per cent of the electorate deemed inadmissible at this time, with a fresh house-to-house registration process to arrive at a clean list. This will be helped by the fact that it was entire boxes or polling stations that were deemed fraudulent by the CEO. Such an approach will restore credibility to GECOM, alleviate the mounting tensions and massive fall out on both sides, which will likely have dire consequences to the country, its people and economy. And allow us all to breathe!