Jun 23, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has unanimously decided to send on Annual Leave Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield; Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO), Roxanne Myers and Region Four Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo pending the outcome of discussions on a motion seeking their dismissal.
The three officials who are currently before the court on charges related to electoral fraud, were 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, Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh, who instructed that the recount figures be used for the final results of the elections.
The decision to instruct the officers to proceed on annual leave followed a statutory meeting of GECOM Commissioners, which was held yesterday. According to a statement disseminated by the Commission, a decision was taken at the meeting for the three officers to proceed on leave with effect from Monday June 28, 2021.
According to GECOM, the decision was necessary to facilitate the Commission’s deliberation on the three motions tabled by the Government nominated Commissioners seeking the immediate dismissal of those persons as well as the course of action to be adopted afterwards to conclude this process.
“The CEO will proceed on 42 days Annual Leave, the DCEO will be on 120 days leave and Mr. Clairmont Mingo will be on 35 days leave. The Commission intends to conclude these discussions within the shortest possible time,” the release added.
The motions to dismiss Lowenfield, Myers and Mingo were tabled by People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) appointed GECOM Commissioners Bibi Shadick, Sase Gunraj and Manoj Narine at a statutory meeting of the Commissioners, earlier this month.
The motion against Lowenfield outlined that he 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 Elections District Number Four by adding up the votes recorded in the Statements of Poll was done without “inordinate or undue delay.”
Specifically, the motion detailed among other things, 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 Representation of People’s Act containing all of the unverified votes as declared by Mingo in which he declared the APNU+AFC the winners despite the injunctions pending a 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 invalidate such votes as he considered ought to be invalidated.”
In a second motion, the PPP/C Commissioners note, inter alia, that 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’s Command Centre at Ashmin’s building.
It noted too, that Myers acted on her own volition when she instructed police officers to remove Commissioner 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 Returning Officer 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.
Taking into account the charges the trio face, the Commissioners said that regardless of the outcome, GECOM must take all necessary steps and action and dismiss them to restore and ensure impartiality, credibility, transparency, public confidence and public trust in its institution.
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