In an attempt to clear the air on the polling results of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) voting exercise on Saturday, which saw Brigadier (Rtd) David Granger being elected the party’s Presidential Candidate, a statement was issued yesterday by Returning Officer, Earl B. John, of Sandra V. Jones and Associates.
This newspaper had reported that there were three counts before the official announcement was made but according John’s statement there were only two official counts, following which Granger was declared the candidate with the most votes.
He was thus the Presidential Candidate to lead the party into the national elections later this year.
This announcement, John said, was made around 19:00 hours during a special congress held at the party’s Sophia headquarters. However, he pointed out that “it would appear that an earlier report may have emerged from those scrutineers who had done their own tallying.” He said that it was noticeable that as the names were loudly called out some of the scrutineers were making their own tallies, obviously before the official count had started.
Of the 827 eligible delegates, 666 ballots were cast. John also clarified that only delegates with picture identification, accompanied by their party membership cards, were issued with delegate cards. The ballots were marked by all five of the candidates, John added.
He further explained that after the initial count was completed the five candidates were invited to the stage by the Returning Officer, who advised them of the individual results, and enquired of their view of having a recount.
This, John said, was done particularly in light of the apparent close votes between the two high scoring candidates, Granger and Former Finance Minister under the People’s National Congress, Economist Carl Greenidge.
Based on the results Granger had secured 279 votes; Greenidge 264; PNCR Vice Chairman, Attorney-at-law Basil Williams, 88; Dr Faith Harding, 20 and the youthful Attorney-at-law James Bond 13.
The majority decision was that there should be such a recount with respect to those two leading candidates only, the statement added. “This single recount was effected under the scrutiny of their (candidates) representatives who together confirmed the original results as subsequently reported.
“It was only then that a public announcement was made around 19:00 hours to the waiting delegates of the official results.”
John stressed, too, “that it is relevant to state that there was never a controversy about the announced results.” He also pointed out that apart from delegates having to enter four polling booths to make their marks on the ballots provided, all other aspects of the poll were conducted in full view of the packed Congress Place auditorium of delegates, observers, scrutineers, photographers and the candidates themselves.
“In their presence each of the 666 ballots was placed in the bin identified for the respective candidates, only after being displayed to all the scrutineers,” the statement added.
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