Boodoo must take ‘responsibility for his actions’

- Alexander says seat calculations not the purview of IT section

Opposition-nominated commissioner at the Guyana Elections Com-mission (Gecom) Vincent Alexander says former Chief Elections Officer Gocool Boodoo must take responsibility for his actions during the last elections and not try to cast blame on the information technology (IT) department.

Alexander, who said Boodoo had changed the formula which almost resulted in the declaration of a parliamentary majority for the PPP/C, made this comment in response to a letter that appeared in this newspaper yesterday.

Boodoo, in his letter, said there was nothing irregular in his tabulation of the results of the 2011 polls and that an observer from the Organisation of American States (OAS) was there overlooking the process. “I note all the rantings about change in formula and manipulation of numbers, etc. This is a clear attempt to discredit me so that commissioners would not support my retention.

Nevertheless, it did not work as was expected, since those who were aware of the facts could not have been moved,” he said in his letter.

Boodoo said the results that were presented to the commissioners for ratification were given to him by the IT department.

The letter also made a number of damning allegations against Gecom Chairman Dr Steve Surujbally.

Gecom is said to be preparing a response to Boodoo’s letter and this is to be released soon, according to a source. However, Alexander, when contacted by this newspaper last night said, “I don’t think his letter dealt with the issues I raised. He does not even mention my name. The calculation of the seats is not a matter for the IT section.

“He does not go into any detail. The matter I raised was the calculation of seats not the vote count. I had no problem with the vote count,” Alexander said. “[It was during the calculation of seats] that the manipulation took place. Boodoo has to take responsibility. He is the CEO. He cannot just take what the IT department gives to him,” Alexander stated.

“If you read Boodoo’s letter carefully you will see that he avoids mentioning me. It is true that [the IT Department] might have provided the vote count but Boodoo as a statutory officer has to take responsibility for whatever he presents,” said Alexander. “That apart, there was no dispute with the computer generated count.

The problem was their translation into seats. The formula for that was not computer generated. Even if the computer did the calculation, he had to provide the formula. The fact is he did the calculation and argued that what he had done was right. The correction was done by him manually in our presence,” said Alexander.

In its report of its observer mission for the 2011 elections, the OAS had said, “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.”

At its statutory meeting on July 16, Gecom took a majority vote not to renew Boodoo’s contract as CEO. Stabroek News was told that Surujbally voted with the opposition commissioners Alexander, Charles Corbin and Sandra Jones against the renewal of Boodoo’s contract. The three commissioners appointed by the government, Dr Keshav Mangal, Mahmood Shaw and Jaya Manickchand, had voted in favour of a renewal and this led to a deadlock which was broken by Surujbally.

Boodoo, whose contract expired on April 30, 2013, went off the job days before his contract came to an end. Alexander’s revelations deflated Boodoo’s hopes for any chance of a contract renewal. It was Alexander who detected the changed formula on the day the official results were to be announced. His objection caused the correct formula to be applied by Boodoo and the joint opposition ended up with a one-seat majority.

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