Aug 03, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – President, Irfaan Ali, yesterday stated that his government is ready for Local Government Elections (LGE) but only with credible elections machinery in place. The President was at the time responding to a question asked during a press conference he hosted yesterday on his government’s one-year anniversary since assuming office.“Be assured we are ready and we are supportive of Local Government Elections, but with a transparent elections machinery and with professionals in place to conduct those elections so that we don’t experience what we did just a year ago,” President Ali said.
To further prove his government’s readiness for LGE, he further noted that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government had already made the necessary budgetary provisions in the budget to facilitate LGE. In March 2021, the National Assembly had approved $1.1 billion for LGE but, no funds were allocated for another House-to-House registration exercise.
According to President Ali it is the role of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to run the elections and advise the government on its readiness. However, he added that the Commission is still dealing with a motion to remove officials who were intricately involved in the alleged rigging of the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections.
Moreover, moments after he was sworn in after the five-month long electoral impasse, President Ali had promised a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the attempts to rig the elections to keep former President, David Granger, and the A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition in office and deny the PPP/C victory.
However, that CoI is yet to commence and during yesterday’s press conference another question was asked in relation to the promised CoI.
President Ali in response said that his government is still committed to the CoI into the events of last year’s elections and revealed that his government has been engaging various stakeholders to find suitable persons that can be part of the elections CoI.
He then stated that the persons involved in the CoI, would not only identify the individuals involved in elections rigging but also, “identify possible weaknesses that can form part of the plan to strengthen our electoral system so that never again can we experience such a barefaced attempt at facilitating attempts to steal an elections.”
The President also turned his attention to the motion moved at the level of the Guyana Elections Commission for the dismissal of Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield; Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO), Roxanne Myers, and Region Four Returning Officer (REO), Clairmont Mingo.
According to reports, the trio was sent on leave as the Commission considered the motion for their dismissal. The motion was tabled by government nominated Commissioners, Bibi Shadick and Sase Gunraj. Lowenfield has since filed a motion in the High Court seeking several things including barring Shadick and Gunraj from taking part in the deliberation to have him removed from GECOM.
According to reports, Lowenfield, Myers and Mingo proceeded on leave from June 28, 2021. The embattled GECOM officials were not only sent home but are also before City Magistrates at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts facing multiple charges in relation to their actions during the March 2, 2020 elections and the events that followed.
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