Four full days after Guyanese voted in general elections, the embattled elections commission (Gecom) is yet to announce even preliminary results especially after the governing multiparty coalition pointed to alleged discrepancies in statements of polling and amid allegations of multiple voting by opposition supporters along the eastern seaboard officials claimed Thursday.
The delay in announcing the results of Monday’s elections has led to a significant slowdown in commercial activities. Thousands of parents have kept their children home from school fearing that rising tensions could spill over into clashes between rival groups. Some shops and stores have also closed, fearing looting and other possibilities.
On Thursday as well, Minister of Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes took to Facebook to make some sweeping allegations about the electoral process, questioning whether it was free and fair as most people seem to think.
The senior minister even implied that Guyana has apparently become a victim of American style Russian interference in the electoral system, noting that authorities were forced to deport several Russians and other foreigners who were rooming at the Marriott Hotel and who were suspected of trying to electronically interfere with the process.
“Included in the team were four Russians who arrived on Saturday, Feb. 29 just two days before our election under the pretense of being observers. Security personnel at the direction of Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan directed immigration to detain and question these individuals. Cyber equipment was seized and three of the four Russians were found and deported. The fourth Russian operative has still not been located,” he said in a startling social media posting.
Have the Russians influenced our election process? Did they interfere? Why? He asked as hand to hand recounting of poll statements from administration Region Four encompassing the capital and outlying areas east and south as well as other districts recommenced.
For his part, Ramjattan said two members of the group that immigration officers deported were Russians, one American and one a Libyan. They were armed with high tech computer equipment. One of the Russians has escaped detection. Officials are certain that they were up to no good and appeared to have had operational links with officials connected with the American Chamber of Commerce in Guyana.
He said that once they were deported, several attorneys associated with the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) “called on behalf of the men we deported. That says something,” Ramjattan said.
The PPP said it was leading by a whopping 52,000 votes or about 10 seats, but the coalition responded that this number will be easily surpassed when votes from the city and related areas were counted, verified and announced.
As rumors about exactly who won continue to spread and as both sides claim victory, crowds have begun to gather near the counting center and police have stepped up their presence in and around the building to keep the peace.