The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) today disputed a statement by former Chief Election Officer Gocool Boodoo that it was the Information Technology division which had supplied an erroneous computation to the Commission for the allocation of seats at the 2011 general elections.
That incorrect seats allocation which would have given the PPP/C a parliamentary majority was challenged on the day the results were to be declared by Commissioner Vincent Alexander and it was subsequently corrected. In recent weeks, Alexander has accused Boodoo of having deliberately changed the formula for the determining of seats.
Responding briefly to these accusations in a letter to Stabroek News in Monday’s edition, Boodoo said: “The fact of the matter is that the results presented to the Commission for ratification was what was presented to me by the Information Technology section”.
That statement appeared to be an attempt by Boodoo to throw off responsibility for the wrong computation which had always been ascribed to him.
GECOM today came out against Boodoo’s version in a letter to Stabroek News.
“Mr. Boodoo’s letter states that the fact of the matter is that the results presented to the Commission for ratification was what was presented to him by the Information Technology Section. This did not happen. Here is what is written in a document which is titled “Procedure for the Ascertainment of the Election Results – General and Regional Elections 2011, and signed by Mr. Boodoo on 26.09.2011:-
“Source: Representation of the People Act, Cap. 1:03; Sec. 96
“(1) The Chief Election Officer shall, after calculating the total number of valid votes of electors which have been cast be each list of candidates, on the basis of the votes counted and the information furnished by returning officers under Section 84 (11), ascertain the result of the election in accordance with Section 97 (Allocation of Seats) and 98 (Membership of the National Assembly).
“(2) The Chief Election Officer shall prepare a report manually and in electronic form in terms of Section 99 for the benefit of the Commission, which shall be the basis for the Commission to declare and publish the election results under Section 99 (Declaration of the Results).”
“It must therefore be unambiguously clear that the Chief Election Officer, in this case Mr. Boodoo, had the legal responsibility to “ascertain” the results of the election. Definitely not the IT Section. Further, the IT Manager has stated categorically that he had no role in the preparation or calculation of the results which were presented to the Commission by Mr. Boodoo for ratification.”
GECOM recently took a decision not to renew Boodoo’s contract and this has sparked accusations by Boodoo against GECOM Chairman Dr Steve Surujbally. GECOM’s letter today said that it was only addressing “technical/official” issues raised by Boodoo’s letter on Monday and not the accusations against Surujbally. Since Boodoo’s letter, a government-nominated commission has come out in support of allegations made by Boodoo against Surujballly. The GECOM Chairman has not yet responded to these allegations.
Members of the public have queried why important matters such as the seats calculation had not been frontally addressed by GECOM in 2011