It is more than 48 hours since the close of poll in Guyana on Monday. Results are known although some 460K ballots were to be counted. There is widespread anxiety and tension. Georgetown is a ghost town three days in a row. People are fearful of going out; violence is threatened. People want to know which party won. The elections commission should announce the results.
Gecom and the parties know the outcome. The seven small parties were decimated – no seats as I predicted in my Nacta opinion polls. It was a straight fight between challenger PPP and incumbent APNU. One won by at least two seats.
There is no declaration of election results by the election commission (Gecom). Both of the major parties, PPP and APNU, made announcements suggesting it won. There can be only one winner. I did my own count, one party did win 34-31 of the 65 member parliament. The parties have their own unofficial count. Both know which party won. Their counts can’t be different because the numbers came from the same returning officers of each polling place and the ten regions.
The international observers are urging Gecom to quickly announce results. The PPP also is also calling on Gecom to quickly announce the outcome confident it has won. The ruling APNU advises Gecom to take its time and urge its supporters to remain calm. APNU is sure it can get the numbers to win. Guyana is known for creative math — 33 is not a majority of 65.There are only 450K ballots to count and indeed they were counted. But it is not a constituency system where partial results can be declared — meaning for each constituency like in Trinidad. The entire country is a constituency. Seats are declared based on the percentage of votes won nationally. All the votes have to be counted and seats apportioned for each party. Whichever party wins most votes, runs the government.
Voters have to wait for the returns of all the 2300 voting stations. They have to be aggregated for each party. Given the vastness of the country and lack of efficient transportation, it is a time consuming process. It would take days to get the statements of polls in Georgetown although I am told that Gtown now has all the SOPs. Hence the lengthy amount of time to tabulate, report, and declare the election results. On this note, Dr Steve Surujbally cannot be blamed for taking days to declare the results in 2006, 2011, and 2016. He was unfairly attacked. His action was deliberate.
In Monday’s election, the major parties would have known from their SOPs the undeclared, unofficial tallies. The SOPs should not vary from the official tallies. But allegations were made of SOPs being changed in previous elections. SOPs cools be tampered with. And in Guyana, it is not impossible for a loser to be declared a winner through tampering or miscounting. The two major parties know the outcome of the latest elections. One party has won. Based on my calculation, one party is projected to have won some 51%, another party 48%, and the minor parties 1%. This would be a projected outcome of 34-31 seats. Both parties unofficially claim to have won 34 seats. Can these numbers change? Anything is possible in Guyana with tampering of boxes and inputting of numbers in computer. The loser could become the winner.
In an earlier article, I commented that previous Guyana elections were fraudulent. That was the view of voters, not mine. I do not think or believe there is/was evidence to suggest that any chair of Gecom played any role in rigging. By no means did I mean to impugn the integrity and professionalism of any previous chairs. I apologize to the preceding chairs for suggesting anything out of the extraordinary in their managing elections. I do not think any of them deliberately played a role in influencing the outcome of past elections. They must be applauded for their work.
On Monday’s elections, officials must behave professionally and announce the results as obtained from the will of the electorate. The announcement of the outcome must be done expeditiously. People will remain tense until the outcome is announced. And business will remain at a standstill.Yours truly,Dr Vishnu Bisram