Chair, Govt Commissioners vote for GECOM to pay their legal fees

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One day before they are expected to make their court appearance, Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission Justice James Patterson called an emergency meeting where he used his casting vote to pass a motion for the Elections Body to pay the legal fees for him and the three Government-nominated Commissioners after private criminal charges were filed against them for violating the Constitution of Guyana.

The PPP-nominated commissioners voted against the motion.

PPP Commissioner Bibi Shaddick explained that they were called to attend an emergency meeting to discuss how GECOM could have General and Regional Elections in a timely manner.

However, things took quite a different turn, as the other members of the Elections Body brought forward a motion concerning legal fees.

“We spent like almost an hour trying to say that GECOM must pay for lawyers to represent those people who sit down there to violate the Constitution. Oh, and the vote is taken, we (PPP appointed Commissioners) said no and the vote was taken with the four Commissioners voting for themselves that GECOM will pay their legal fees. So all of this nonsense that is going on here is like hijacking this Constitution that we have and then GECOM must pay to represent the people who are hijacking it and this is absolute nonsense,” she told media operatives after the PPP-commissioners walked out of the meeting.

The private criminal charges were filed by well-known Civil Engineer and activist, Marcel Gaskin, the brother of Business Minister Dominic Gaskin.

The GECOM officials were charged with “conspiracy to breach the constitution of Guyana contrary to the Common Law.” I

In the particulars of the offence, Gaskin said “the defendants… conspired to breach Article 106 of the Constitution of Guyana which provided for the holding of general elections in Guyana within three months from 21st December, 2018”. The four will make their first court appearance tomorrow at the Georgetown’s Magistrate Court.

Meanwhile, the PPP Commissioners walked out of the meeting once again after the other Commissioners and Chairman ignored a motion they put forward on how credible elections could be held in a timely manner without violating the Constitution of Guyana.

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