Jun 02, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) nominated Commissioners of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) have tabled motions for the immediate dismissal of Chief Elections Officers (CEO) Keith Lowenfield, Deputy Chief Elections Officer, Roxanne Myers and Region Four Returning Officer (RO), Clairmont Mingo.
The three officials, who are currently before the court on charges related to electoral fraud, have been cited for a series of grave violations connected to the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections and for their defiance of the instructions by the GECOM Chair, Claudette Singh to use the recount figures for the final result of the elections.
According to documents seen by this newspaper, Commissioners of the ruling PPP/C government, Bibi Shadick, Sase Gunraj and Manoj Narayan have tabled three separate motions yesterday at GECOM’s statutory meeting detailing the basis by which their requests for the dismissals should be made.
Kaieteur News understands that Chairman of GECOM, Justice (R’t) Claudette Singh has since dispatched letters to Lowenfield, Myers and Mingo for them to show why the Commission should not act against them.
As it regards, Lowenfield, the motion for his dismissal notes, inter alia, that the CEO failed and/or refused and/or neglected to ensure due adherence and compliance of the statutory elections process in accordance to Section 84 of the Representation of the People Act (ROPA) by the Returning Officer for Election District Number Four, Clairmont Mingo, an election officer under his control and supervision, during the process of adding up the votes recorded in the Statements of Poll for the said District.
The motions also claims that the CEO failed and/or refused and/or neglected to ensure that the process of ascertaining the total number of votes cast in favour of each list of candidates for Election District Number four by adding up the votes recorded in the Statements of Poll was done “with dispatch” and without “inordinate or undue delay”.
The document outlines a series of instances by which the CEO acted in breach of his duties; and failed and/or refused and/or neglected to provide proper and lawful directions, instructions and guidance to the officers and employees of the Secretariat in the performance of their statutory duties. The motion also detailed what was referred to as Lowenfield’s open defiance of court orders in his “active pursuit to fraudulently declare” the APNU+AFC coalition as winners of the March 2, 2020 Regional and General Polls.
The motion points to the CEO’s preparations of a final report pursuant to Section 99 of ROPA containing all of the unverified votes as declared by Mingo in which he declared the APNU+AFC the winners despite the injunctions granted in the Reaz Holladar case and the existence of the interim injunction restraining GECOM from declaring the results pending decision of Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire.
In another instance, the document outlined that the CEO was found in breach by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in relation to the recount report submitted on the 23rd June, 2020 “when he took it upon himself to himself to invalidate such votes as he considered ought to be invalidated.”
“By the aforesaid conduct, actions and omissions of the CEO, he has not only violated but has discarded the oath of office which he has taken to faithfully discharge the duties of his office and to act fairly and impartially in the discharge of those duties. The foregoing actions of the CEO cannot be reasonably seen as acting impartially and fairly,” the motion states.“By the aforesaid conduct, actions and omissions of the CEO, he has caused a loss of public confidence and public trust in the electoral process …” the document outlined adding that the CEO is currently facing criminal charges being prosecuted by the Guyana Police Force in respect of his numerous infractions of the law.
Regardless of the outcome of those charges, the Commissioners said, GECOM must take all necessary steps and action and dismiss Lowenfield, pursuant to Article 162 (I) (b) of the Constitution to restore and ensure impartiality, credibility, transparency, public confidence and public trust in its institution.
As it relates to Myers, the Commissioners contend that she aided and abetted the CEO in his refusal, failure and neglect of his duties in the statutory process. The documents specifically points to the process of ascertaining the total number of votes cast in favour of each list of candidates for Election District Number 4. In the motion, the PPP/C Commissioners note, inter alia, that the DCEO aided and abetted Lowenfield in his failure or refusal to ensure that the electoral process was conducted “with dispatch” and without “inordinate or undue delay” and when he deliberately failed to ensure the correct tabulation of the Statement of Poll in relation to the votes for Region Four. While the document cites Myers for aiding and abetting Lowenfield in the functions of duties on several occasions, it referenced incidences where she acted questionably on her own volition.
According to the motion, the DCEO acted on her own volition when she facilitated a meeting on March 5, 2020 with a candidate of the contesting party, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Karen Cummings at the GECOM command centre at Ashmin’s building. It noted too that Myers acted on her own volition when she instructed police officers to remove Commissioner Sase Gunraj and others from the building on March 5, 2020. This, according to the Commissioners, caused the loss of public confidence in the electoral process.
Meanwhile, as it relates to Mingo, the motion points to his orchestration of the attempt to rig the elections in favour of APNU+AFC. Among other things, the document calling for Mingo’s dismissal notes that without any lawful authority or proper justification or excuse, the RO deliberately failed, refused and neglected to ascertain the total votes cast in favour of each list in the district by adding up the votes recorded in favour of the list in accordance with the Statements of Poll as is required by the Section and instead, he whether by himself or those acting with his authority or under his direction, sought to use in the adding up process, figures.
In the interim, the letters dispatched by the GECOM Chairperson asked the officials to show cause why they should not be dismissed by June 15, 2021. In the letter to Myers seen by this publication, the GECOM Chair detailed that the motion was moved by Commissioner Bibi Shadick and seconded by Commissioner Manoj Narayan at the statutory meeting of GECOM yesterday.
“ As a consequence, I have attached a copy the motion for your perusal and kindly request that you provide a response in writing on or before June 15 , 2021 to show cause why such action should not be taken against you,” the Chair stated.
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