On Thursday morning, the Guyana Election Commission’s Chairman Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh suspended the tabulation of SOPs for Region 4. This was done in order to have a better understanding of Wednesday’s High Court ruling. The Chairman made the decision to suspend the process after several members of contesting parties objected to the fact that the Returning Officer of District #4 Clairmont Mingo returned to the use of a disputed spreadsheet to which the political parties had objected to exactly one week ago.
Hours after this development the European Union Election Observer Mission in Guyana wrote Mr Mingo requesting to examine the Statements of Poll (SOPs) he used to prepare a spreadsheet with the votes tabulated for the voting district.
The letter is as follows:
“Pursuant to Section 4 (1) and (3) of the General Elections (Observers) Act, as well as Section 6, 7, 8 and 9 of the Administrative Arrangement between the Delegation of the European Union in Guyana and the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, I am hereby requesting to examine the States of Polls based on which you have prepared the spreadsheet of results before the ascertainment of results for Region Four is completed,”
The law to which the observer mission references states
The Returning Officer shall, “in the presence of such of the persons entitled” to be there ascertain the total votes cast in favour of the parties.
Section 86 (1) lists the persons who shall be present at the counting of the votes.
These persons include:
(A) The Returning Officer, and such other Elections Officer appointed by him
(B) The Elections Commission
(C) Duly appointed Candidates
(D) Counting Agents
(E) Such other persons, as in the opinion of the Returning Officer, have good reason to be present.