Firing of GECOM trio delayed again after APNU+AFC Commissioners leave meeting

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The A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) nominated Commissioners on the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) aborted another meeting on Tuesday, further delaying the firing of the infamous GECOM trio.

In an interview with this publication, GECOM Commissioner Sase Gunraj explained that the Commission was able to debate the motion for the dismissals of Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield, his Deputy Roxanne Myers and Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo.

But problems arose when it came time for an actual vote on the motion. Gunraj explained that the Opposition nominated Commissioners raised objections to how the motion was worded and eventually, Vincent Alexander and Desmond Trotman disconnected from the virtual meeting, leaving only Charles Corbin to represent the APNU+AFC side.

“We have moved the position on the motion to a simpler position, that is to say we are moving towards termination of the contract, rather than termination for cause,” Gunraj explained to this publication.

“So, the motions were debated and when came time to vote on it, the people on the other side are objecting because apparently, they don’t want us to make any reference whatsoever to the skulduggery those people carried on with for all those months after elections. They wanted to focus on form rather than substance.”

As a result of this, another meeting has been scheduled for Thursday. Gunraj was optimistic that at this meeting, some finality could be brought to the issue by GECOM Chairperson, Retired Justice Claudette Singh.

The APNU+AFC nominated GECOM Commissioners had similarly walked out of another meeting of the commission on July 20, when they had met to deliberate on the motion to dismiss the GECOM trio.

The GECOM trio was before the court for a variety of electoral fraud charges when Gunraj and fellow Government Commissioners Manoj Narayan and Bibi Shadick brought motions for their dismissal from GECOM.

The motion had said that the CEO, in spite of protests from contesting parties other than the APNU+AFC, deliberately chose to neglect the complaints of discrepancies in relation to Mingo’s numbers.

In the case of Myers, that motion was submitted in the names of Shadick and Narayan. They argued that she aided Lowenfield in the commission of all his infractions, and even went out of her way to facilitate a meeting in a GECOM facility by then Foreign Affairs Minister Karen Cummings, where she threatened to revoke the accreditation of international observers.

Myers’s purported order to have the Guyana Police Force remove Commissioner Gunraj and political party representatives from the GECOM Command Centre during the tabulation of the Statements of Poll (SoPs) is also listed as one of the reasons she should be dismissed from her substantive post as DCEO.

The grounds for Mingo’s dismissal surround his tabulation of the SoPs in which he manufactured numbers to reflect a win for the APNU+AFC. It also concerns his conduct and defiance of the court orders mandating that he follow the outlined statutory process to acquire his final tally of the SoPs.

GECOM had unanimously decided to send Lowenfield, Myers and Mingo on leave, pending a debate on the motions calling for their dismissal.

Lowenfield, Myers and Mingo are all before the courts for a number of electoral charges for their alleged attempts to sway the results of the March 2020 General and Regional Elections in favour of the then ruling APNU+AFC Government.