Here is a lengthy extract from my July 16, 2013 column. It is about the GECOM’s Chairman, Steve Surajbally; “We learnt from Patterson that after the 2006 poll, GECOM met the AFC. Among those present were the Chief Election Officer, Mr. Gocool Boodoo, and the chairman himself. Patterson recalled that GECOM acknowledged that the Linden results carried a mistake in which a seat allocated to Prime Minister Hinds should have gone to the AFC.
The GECOM big boys agreed it would be corrected before the final declaration. Yet the results were announced and Hinds kept his seat and the AFC lost out. Patterson went on to inform viewers that GECOM advised that only an election petition to the court could reverse the allocation of the seat.
Yet, according to Patterson when the AFC did that, Boodoo presented an affidavit rejecting the AFC’s petition. In other words if GECOM did not offer a defence, the court had to rule in the AFC’s favour. In other words again, GECOM misled the AFC. Now here is the AFC’s bombshell. In front of the cameras, Patterson read from a Wikileaks cable and quotes Steve Surujbally as telling the US Ambassador that the AFC’s petition was ridiculous. If Patterson’s portrayal of Steve Surujbally is correct then, this country must demand an explanation from Surujbally.” (unquote).
Surujbally replies to everything written about him as he did recently when I wrote that two Amerindian drivers from the interior were not paid as recent as August 2016 for election work in May 2015. Here is what Surajballi wrote through the pen of GECOM’s PRO, Ms. Rodney; “he (Kissoon) is well advised to carefully separate glaring parasitic and exploitative practices from those purveyed by genuinely people-friendly organizations such as GECOM.”
That is the exact language Surubally uses but he probably asked Ms. Rodney to issue the response in her name.
How people-friendly is GECOM when it is literally drowning in a vortex of financial scandals and Surujbally, to date, has not uttered even one word of the miasma of sole-sourcing and the money is the hundreds of millions of dollars? But let me avoid a libel suit. All I am saying here is that the country needs to hear from the GECOM boss, who incidentally is perhaps the highest paid person from the Treasury of Guyana.
The reverberation of Surujbally’s silence is unnerving when you think this man has an obsessive penchant for replying to his critics and the habit is always to use acidic semantics. I remember I was in the channel 9 studios filming a television interview when my editor, Adam Harris, called to say that Surujbally was upset in that a column on him. I got the university he attended in communist USSR wrongly. It doesn’t take much to upset the GECOM boss. I had to issue an apology in the Kaieteur News which I did on July 20, 2013. Can you imagine that!
In a letter in this newspaper of December 23, 2011 captioned “GECOM Educates Freddie Kissoon,” Surujbally denied that GECOM paid out $100M to PPP and PNC scrutineers and left out the AFC. And here was Surujbally’s explanation; “GECOM was never in possession of any money at any time to share out to any political party…we don’t pay out money… all of this is done by the Ministry of Finance not GECOM.”
He was right. It was the Ministry of Finance’s money. But like every other public institution, the money comes from the Ministry of Finance who gives it to these institutions to use. GECOM was no exception. The AFC replied to Surujbally and debunked his Ministry of Finance explanation.
Isn’t it strange that for three weeks now, GECOM is being exposed as an institution where questionable use of finance in the most macabre ways has taken place but the Chairman of GECOM is reticent and cannot be seen or heard in the media? Of course I don’t think Surujbally has direct knowledge of what went on but as GECOM’s Chairman, he has a moral obligation to explain what has taken place with these financial controversies.
The situation is mysterious in the sense that Surujbally has a tradition of pugnacious rebuttals and aggressive responses. How can such a relentless combatant disappear from the arena when the people of Guyana want to hear from him?
Guyana is a cruel place. It can be a graveyard for those who are arrogant, powerful and elitist. At the moment Messrs Tony Vieira and Vic Insanally aren’t enjoying a good press. Ramon Gaskin suffered a huge media set-back.
His friend, Dr. Walter Ramsahoye, lost to Kaieteur News in the Caribbean Court of Appeal. Where are you Steve?
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