The People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) yesterday called for the dismissal of Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, after he failed yet again to adhere to instructions of the Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh.
“GECOM has a constitutional mandate and duty to dismiss Lowenfield forthwith, for his fraudulent conduct, his dereliction from duty and his vile insubordination and to immediately appoint another Chief Elections Officer to carry out its directions contained in its various letters to Lowenfield,” the PPP/C noted in a statement.
The press release further made it clear that Lowenfield’s conduct not only amounted to gross “insubordination” but that is “an egregious dereliction of his duty”.
Additionally, it noted that the CEO committed intentional fraud after he chose to include figures in his report which were “fraudulent and fictitious.”
The PPP/C, which was booted from office in 2015 after 23 years in office, has been handed victory, according to vote figures.
Additionally, the release noted yesterday, “Article 162(1) (b) of the Constitution adequately empowers the Commission to issue such instructions and take such actions as appear to be necessary or expedient to ensure impartiality, fairness and compliance with the provision of this Constitution or any Act of Parliament on the part of persons exercising powers or performing duties connected with the Electoral Process”.
The PPP/C statement also pointed out that Article 161 (a) provides that “the Elections Commission shall be responsible for the efficient functioning of the Secretariat of the Commission, which shall comprise the officers and employees of the Commission, and for the appointment of all the staff to the offices thereof inclusive of all temporary staff, recruited for the purposes of boundary demarcation, registrations of persons and elections and shall have the power to remove and to exercise disciplinary control over such staff.”
Meanwhile, speaking with Kaieteur News yesterday, attorney-at-law Sanjeev Datadin, who is also a candidate for the PPP/C, related that since Lowenfield is employed on a contract basis as the CEO, the Commission can choose to immediately relieve him of his duties on the grounds for repeated failure to carry out the instructions given to him by the Commission.
This, Datadin explained, would be subjected to the commission rejecting Lowenfield’s falsified report submitted yesterday which gave the APNU+AFC coalition a 7,447 lead with 236,777 and PPP/C 229,330. Actual recount figures indicate that the PPP/C won the March 2 election by gaining 233,336 votes while the APNU+AFC received 217,920.
The decision to dismiss Lowenfield by the commission would then be followed by the appointment of a new Chief Elections Officer. The newly appointed CEO would then be instructed to complete and submit a new report based on the recount figures as ordered by the commission, the lawyer said.
When asked about the implications that would follow should the GECOM chair fails to take action against Lowenfield, Datadin noted that GECOM is the public body “charged with defending our democracy” and “failure to take action against someone undermining that democracy would imply that the commission does not take their job seriously.”
Moreover, Datadin further stated that failure of the GECOM chair to take action against Lowenfield’s act of insubordination would be a “travesty and permanent erosion to our rights as a people.”
Adding to this, the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), The Citizens Initiative (TCI), The New Movement (TNM) and the United Republican Party (URP) have all called for the immediate dismissal of Lowenfield after he made sever attempts to delay and frustrate the outcome of the March 2, General and Regional Elections.
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