Feb 14, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – In a bid to never have a repeat of the March 2020 election fiasco, the government of the day aims to table legislation mandating that Statements of Polls (SOPs) be published one day after the general and regional elections.
The Vice President (VP), Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, detailed this at his more recent press conference.
He said, “The Statements of Poll, when they are received, before the count starts, we want them published. We want them published in the newspapers, in the Gazette and posted online.”
“So even before the count starts, the industrious Guyanese can then go and see the SOPs and they can calculate who won the elections. People can know that because they would have to post the original SOPs, say in the first day after the elections.”
A Commission of Inquiry (COI) is still on the cards as well but, according to the VP, government aims to find individuals “above reproach” to avoid accusations of partisanship as have happened during the 2020 election saga.
Pointing to the largest faction of the political opposition, the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition, the VP at his press conference said “Knowing APNU though, I doubt because if they could’ve accused Mia Mottley and everybody in the world of receiving bribes from us for their positions in the elections, they may still do that.”
In addition, the Vice President said that draft amendments to the Representation of the People’s Act (ROPA) to outline penalties for electoral fraud, among other measures, have already started.
But these measures, he continued, would be of no use if the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) continues to have in its employ Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, and his deputy, Roxanne Myers.
“We have made it clear that apart from those changes that with Lowenfield and Roxanne Myers there, you cannot have free and fair elections,” he said. “You cannot have free and fair elections. This is a red line for us that with the two of them, you cannot have free and fair elections. We have demonstrated, every single external group, locally and internationally know they tried to steal the elections.”
Moreover, the VP stated that it is unacceptable that the Commission, chaired by Retired Justice Claudette Singh, has not moved to remove both Lowenfield and Myers for their alleged involvement in election rigging.
In any other part of the world, Jagdeo added, both individuals would be fired “for cause” yet Guyana still dwindles on the move.
“All the Commission has to do, their responsibility is just to say let’s see what he had. Don’t they care about that and the integrity and reputation of the agency and its ability to inspire confidence in Guyanese that it will act fairly? That is what is at stake here,” he concluded.
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