Jun 28, 2020 News
The actions by Chief Elections Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Keith Lowenfield, where he sought to invalidate 115,844 valid votes and hand the victory of the March 2nd, 2020 General and Regional Elections to the incumbent APNU+AFC Coalition could be described as “treason.”
In an open letter to the CEO dated June 26th, the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) responded to Lowenfield’s pronouncements that he “acted in conformity with the law”, defending his position to submit his final report to the GECOM Chair, Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh, using alternate figures than those of the recount.
He failed to pinpoint in his defense, the section of the Constitution which grants him that power.
The CEO had said: “At all times, I have acted in conformity with the laws and therefore my action cannot be ‘seen as clear act of insubordination…While the Commission makes certain policy decisions and provides guidance to the Chief Election Officer for implementation by the Secretariat, I have to execute my duties as a Constitutional Officer, particularly in the conduct of elections.”
The GCCI, however, noted Lowenfield disregarded key lines in the Constitution.
“While its certain,” the City Chamber said in its statement yesterday, “from the release that you have read the Section 177 (b) of the Constitution, we wish to call to your attention the third and fourth paragraphs of the Preamble which says, “WE, THE GUYANESE PEOPLE, forge a system of governance that promotes concerted efforts and broad based participation in national decision making in order to develop a viable economy and a harmonious community based on democratic values, social justice, fundamental rights and the rule of law.”
The chamber noted that Section 9 also reads: “Sovereignty belongs to the people, who exercise it through their representatives and the democratic organs established by or under this Constitution.”
Those rights, the GCCI stressed, were violated by Lowenfield after he attempted to scrap 115,844 valid votes, “taking away the rights, afforded under Section 160 (b) to all citizens, from one hundred and fifteen thousand citizens” with the resulting repercussions painting a dark future for business, the economy and the wellbeing of Guyana.
The City Chamber made it clear that the CEO’s actions have “violated Sections of the Constitution” in a deliberate overt act “to overthrow the core principle of the Sovereignty of the People and the Electoral System of Proportional Representation.”
“Your reports,” they told Lowenfield, “seeks to install a Government that has not been democratically elected by the will of the people.”
In that report, Lowenfield scrapped 115,844 votes, tabulated during the recount and reducing the total valid votes cast in the General Election from 460,352 to 344,508. Those figures gave the win to the incumbent Coalition with 171,825 votes while he claimed the Opposition attained 166,343 votes.
Referencing Section 318 of Ch: 8:01 of the Criminal Law (Offences) Act, the GCCI posited that Lowenfield committed treason.
“These actions can be construed as treasonous, using Section 318 of Ch: 8:01 The Criminal Law (Offences) Act, which states that “Any person owing allegiance to the state who, whether in Guyana or elsewhere – forms an intention to levy war against the state or to overthrow the Government or the Constitution of Guyana by force and manifests such intention by any over act;” would have committed treason.”
The CEO, has one final opportunity to “redeem” himself, according to the City Chamber.
“If the Caribbean Court of Justice overrules our local Court of Appeal’s ruling, and you withdraw your report, then you should submit the correct report, which is in keeping with the will of the people.”
That report would consist of the valid figures from the national recount with the opposition’s People’s Progressive Party (PPP) emerging the victors with 233,336 votes, giving it the one-seat majority in Parliament.
The City Chamber told Lowenfield that his “treasonous” report, if it is allowed to stand, “shall have one of the most lasting negative impacts on our society and future generations, as well as your legacy.”
Further, they stated: “Rest assured that when all of this comes to an inglorious end, you will face the consequences of the law if you dig your heels in to plunge off a cliff with our country in tow; instead you can change course and do the right thing to let our nation move forward with a genuinely ‘credible’ election cycle and heal.”
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