EU Ambassador to Guyana, Fernando Ponz-Cantó, is of the view that the systems put in place during Guyana’s March 2 General and Regional Elections were so robust that it was impossible to cheat.
In fact, Ponz- Cantó pointed to the real credibility issue being the Region Four tabulation.
He made these and other comments in a recent interview with TVG Channel 28.
Describing the Election Day process, the Ambassador said: “It was quite impressive because when you are in one of those voting stations, you could see the agents from the different parties. You could see the presiding officers. You could see the members of the voting committee tables. And they were all extremely conscientious.”
The Ambassador even said that some of what were in place at the polling stations in Guyana weren’t available in his home country of Spain.
“One person came to vote. He or she has to identify himself, but then also, he has to be seen on the list and there are pictures, which in my country, we never had pictures. So I was quite positively impressed. And everybody could see everything. And at the end of the vote, he has to dip his finger in ink, which in my country, we never did. So I mean, it was safeguard after safeguard after safeguard. It was impossible to cheat.”
He said that though he is personally not a professional observer, it is important to note that the observer missions, including the EU observer mission, were unanimous in their judgment on the Election Day process.
“And those guys are professionals. They know when things are going right or not,” he said.
But he pointed to issues arising out of the Region Four tabulation.
“We said it very clearly. This tabulation process for Region Four was not credible. It was not reflecting the will of the people. It had clearly followed a process which was not the right process. I saw it personally. I was there. I was in the tabulation centre (at Ashmins building).”
His comments echo a statement from Permanent Representative of Barbados to the OAS, Ambassador Noel Lynch on behalf of the CARICOM Group during a meeting of the OAS Permanent Council.
Lynch had said: “We are mindful, Mr. Chairman, that irregularities occurred not in the system by which the Guyanese electorate cast their votes on March 2nd, but in the presentation of the count afterwards.”
The EU ambassador said, in this regard, that “it is a mistake to underestimate the intelligence of people, and of the people of Guyana as well.”
“I’m tempted to say that we all know what happened. But I really don’t want to focus on pointing fingers or saying who did what and why.”
But now the recount is happening, the EU Ambassador is confident that Guyana’s political leaders will respect and accept fully, the results of the recount they committed to.
The Ambassador pointed out that the leaders committed themselves to the recount- Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo and President David Granger, with the participation of CARICOM.
“We are very happy about that, and I believe that your leaders were serious and that they will respect fully, what they committed to, which is the recount,” he said.
The Ambassador emphasized the simple, quantitative nature of the recount.
“As long as the recount is done properly, I think that this may – this should not be an obstacle for the results to be finally tabulated and proclaimed. In the end, if the recount was excellent, then the quantitative results are also accurate and then they have to be recognized. What this exercise, we understand, is about is about counting. It’s not so difficult. It’s very tedious. It’s a lot of work. But ultimately, it’s not rocket science. It’s just counting the votes. It’s just whoever wins wins. Whoever loses loses.”
There are concerns coming from the governing coalition about the credibility of the elections. The Coalition has made objections to the process, and have claimed that the issues point to electoral fraud, which calls over 90,000 votes into question.
But the EU ambassador said that, while it is fair to make objections, a time will come for that.
“I think that there are mechanisms to address those questions in due course. It’s very legitimate that anybody can raise any objections, of course. But there are legal and sure means to deal with those objections in due course.”
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