AFC endorses OAS report

-will present motion in Parliament calling for reform of GECOM

The Alliance For Change (AFC) has endorsed the final report by the OAS Electoral Observer Mission, calling it concise, factual and debunking any claim that the Opposition rigged the November 28 election.  The party has promised to table a Motion in the National Assembly calling for the reform of the Guyana Elections Commission, as has been recommended by the mission.

The party issued a statement yesterday voicing its support and concurrence with the report, which was released on February 22, 2012 at the OAS’ Permanent Council in Washington DC.

“The Alliance For Change (AFC) thanks the OAS Electoral Observer Mission to the Guyana General and Regional Elections 2011, for its verbal Report. The Report is concise, factual, debunks any claim of rigging by the opposition and more importantly, provides a number of recommendations for improving the conduct of elections in Guyana,” the AFC said in its statement.

“The AFC notes, that in the Report, the OAS Observer Mission made a point of addressing a number of issues which the AFC has been speaking about for some time now, including; campaign financing, the use of state resources for electoral purposes and the unequal conditions for electoral competition; the need to include enforcement mechanisms in the Code of Conduct for Political Parties; government monopoly of radio, and; access to the state owned television station,” the statement said. “Of particular concern to the AFC, is the OAS Mission report that, ‘in the tabulation and processing of the polls several incidents (were observed) which demonstrated the lack of application of uniform procedures, including:

The OAS teams stationed at the tabulation centre in Georgetown observed at least two envelopes containing statements of poll being delivered by an unaccredited and unescorted individual.

On at least two occasions, statements of poll bypassed the system whereby the Commissioners examined them and were instead delivered directly to the manual tabulation process.

On November 29th, for about half an hour the reception procedure was reversed by the GECOM Chairman to institute the direct delivery of statements of poll to the manual tabulation process, prior to their verification by Commissioners.

Prior to the declaration of results, the IT department was unable to finish processing all of the statements of poll, and 307 were not in the digital tabulation centre’s system half an hour before the originally scheduled declaration of results. While the declaration of results is legally based on the information provided to the Chief Electoral Officer by the Returning Officers, corroborating the manual tally with that of the IT department prior to the declaration of results could have helped lend credibility to the process.”

“These observations of the OAS Mission are a clear indication that GECOM must undergo reform if the people of Guyana are to have any confidence in the system,” the AFC said in its statement.

According to the party, the Report clearly points to the need to reform GECOM prior to the holding of Local Government Elections and “it must therefore be treated with top-most priority.”

The AFC said it has made this point at the level of the tripartite talks with the government and APNU.

“The AFC fully endorses the recommendations of the OAS Observation Mission and to this end the Party will bring to the National Assembly a Motion calling for the reform of GECOM. In light of the OAS Report, the AFC anticipates that it will get the full support of the House,” the statement said.

President Donald Ramotar in an interview last month had stated that APNU and the AFC had manipulated the elections results. He said that instead of the 48.6% that the PPP/C registered at the elections is should have been 52 or 53%. His statement was condemned by the opposition parties.

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