Given everything that has transpired in the months leading up to her nomination, the appointment of Justice Claudette Singh as Chairwoman of Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) brought a sigh of relief to the majority of Guyanese. Much was expected of her before, during, and after what many deemed the “mother of all elections”. However, her actions and/or inactions since then have raised many questions and concerns regarding her perceived partisanship, especially since the March 2nd elections. Her latest escapade seems to further undermine the prospects of bringing these elections to a fair, transparent, and credible conclusion. This begs the question, how will Justice Claudette Singh vote on the final recount results?
In taking the oath of office, Justice Claudette Singh solemnly promised to honor three principal obligations to the Guyanese people. First, she swore true faith and allegiance to the people of Guyana. Second, she promised to discharge her duties and responsibilities without fear or favor, affection, or ill will. Third, she pledged to honor, uphold, and preserve the Constitution of Guyana. With over four decades of experience in the legal arena, Justice Singh was reasonably expected to abide by the sanctity of her oath and letter and spirit of the law. However, her recent tenure has been tainted by one faux pas after another.
By bearing true faith and allegiance to all Guyanese, Justice Singh inherently acknowledged that the sovereignty of the people cannot be denied or taken away. Hence, she pledged unconditional loyalty to the people in discharging her duties and responsibilities. However, her actions throughout this ordeal have painted a less than flattering picture. Her overall reluctance to exude control and leadership during and in the aftermath of Mr. Mingo’s atrocious acts suggests a flagrant disregard for the will of the people. As a result, the true will of the people has so far been denied and may never be respected following a credible recount.
In swearing to execute her duties and responsibilities without fear or favour, affection or ill will, Justice Singh was reasonably expected to act impartially and without malice. More importantly, she was expected to pursue a common good for all Guyanese. Yet, her posture in the last few months remains extremely controversial and suggests a degree of prejudice. For example, her vote against releasing GECOM’s Statements of Poll to the Commissioners showed her disinterest in a course of action that was in the best interest of Guyana. Her failure to discard the fictitious and discredited numbers declared by Mr. Mingo suggests unjustified favor. Similarly, her vote against removing Mr. Mingo and other questionable characters from the recount process illustrates her apathy and misguided intent.
Perhaps even more egregious was Justice Singh’s cavalier attitude towards the Constitution. Although the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) cleared the way for regional and general elections to be held within ninety days, Justice Singh showed contempt for the Constitution that she had sworn to uphold and defend. Instead of ensuring elections were held by September 18, 2019, her constant dithering meant that this deadline was missed. Also, the dissolution of parliament on December 30, 2019, meant that the constitutional deadline for reconstituting parliament was April 30, 2020. Once again Justice Singh’s indecisiveness resulted in another constitutional deadline being ignored.
While the examples above are not exhaustive, they show a clear pattern of Justice Singh’s indifference towards the oath of office she duly swore to uphold. She has had multiple opportunities to redeem herself but continues to let her people and country down.
This brings us back to the question, how will Claudette Singh vote on the final recount results? By secretly asking the Commissioner of Police for information regarding wild and unsubstantiated allegations made by the APNU+AFC, Justice Singh has once again shown this nation that she cares less about her reputation and more about appeasing those who conspired to rig the elections.
With GECOM commissioners divided along political lines and APNU+AFC proclamation that the March 2nd elections were not credible, all eyes will be on Justice Singh. However, her track record does not bode well for Guyana. Let’s all hope she does the right thing and restore a semblance of respectability to Guyana.
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