Dec 21, 2020 News
Kaieteur News – With Local Government Elections (LGE) due in the coming year, the Private Sector Commission (PSC) has called on those compromised Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) officials to be removed before the process commences.
Among those include GECOM’s Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield, Deputy CEO Roxanne Myers, and District Four Returning Officer (RO) Clairmont Mingo who have pending matters before the courts for the role they played during the contentious March 2 elections.
So far, there has been no indication from GECOM or the Chair, Ret’d Justice Claudette Singh what actions would be taken to reprimand those officials. The PSC in their statement pointed out too, that “As far as we know, none of these officers have been dismissed from their employment with GECOM, nor have they been suspended from duty.”
“It is unthinkable and certainly unacceptable that GECOM should proceed to conduct Local Government Elections while these officers remain employed and involved in the conducting of these elections,” the private sector body added.
The PSC also highlighted that there has been silence from Claudette Singh herself with regard to any action being taken in terms of GECOM’s preparedness to hold LGE.
“While we have heard nothing officially from the Office of the President, it is more than probable that President Ali has already enquired of the GECOM Chairman as to the readiness of GEOCOM to hold these Elections,” the PSC continued, noting that sufficient time has passed since the government has taken office for the public to be told what is going on in GECOM.
Further on, the PSC outlined that the GECOM Chair cannot use the current elections petition brought by the now Opposition A Partnership For National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition as an “excuse” to clean up the Commission.
“Local Government Elections are likely due to be held long before the Petition will be heard to finality. The Election Petition cannot be used as a means of delaying or postponing GECOM’s preparedness to hold an election,” it said.
The PSC highlighted that Guyana has already begun to recover from the five-month hiatus caused by the protracted March elections in spite of the continuing challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For GECOM to properly prepare itself to hold the LGE, the PSC highlighted, would be a “hugely regressive step” and would result in Guyana being made to suffer under the threat of further political instability.
“The Private Sector Commission, therefore, wishes to urge upon the Chairman of the Elections Commission to speak out and speak plainly about the action being taken to put right all that has gone wrong in GECOM and to do it quickly,” the PSC said.
While the Ali government has stated that it is committed to upholding its promise for LGE next year, Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo, echoed similar sentiments to the PSC at a press conference last month where he made it clear that “criminal elements” from GECOM must be removed.
“We have no confidence,” Jagdeo had said, “with criminals running the system. And so, we’re expected that the Commission will get rid of the criminals. They don’t need any evidence. The whole country knows that these are criminal-types who tried to steal the elections, and put this country through trauma. They cannot run any election, and I hope that the Chair of the Commission now has to fight against the criminals. And so, there has to be changes there, that’s what we want.”
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