GECOM Chair must stand against “forces” who do not want credible recount – political analyst

GECOM Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield and Chairperson of GECOM, retired Justice Claudette Singh
GECOM Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield and Chairperson of GECOM, retired Justice Claudette Singh

Political analyst, Sasenarine Singh, has said that the Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Claudette Singh, must take full responsibility for what has occurred at the electoral body in relation to the 2020 General and Regional Elections and only she can salvage what is left of the process.

The political analyst noted that the process has largely been derailed by no more than a dozen people in GECOM and it is time that the Chair takes full control of the situation to bring an end to the current impasse.

“It is she who has to get out from behind her desk and get down into the GECOM machinery and understand what is really happening. This nation is bleeding and the Chairman of GECOM is actively creating an environment where there can be no healing.”

“She has to stop this situation and create a road map with solutions to this mess in the shortest possible time. This process demands leadership. And that leadership can only come from the office of the Chairwoman of GECOM.”

FILE: T&T Prime Keith Rowley (right) with CARICOM Chair Barbadian PM Mia Mottley at a press conference during the two day visit to Guyana last month

Following her departure from Guyana, Caribbean Community (Caricom) Chair Mia Mottley had spoken about “forces” who do not want a recount to happen.

Trinidad Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has also expressed fears that things will not end well with the elections. Sasenarine Singh, who is a former Alliance For Change (AFC) executive, urged the Chair to stand against these forces for the good of Guyana.

“She has to stop allowing the GECOM Secretariat staff from playing her. She cannot be a victim of the dirty tricks department. No, she has to rise above this. This is where Madam Chair has to put country first.”

Since the elections were held over a month ago, a winner is yet to be announced. The majority of observers who scrutinised the tabulation process have pronounced it to have not been credible.

GECOM itself had come in for much of the criticism, with repeated attempts being made by Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo to subvert the process going unchecked by the Chairwoman.

Despite Singh promising that she would facilitate a recount, attempts to have the recount done at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) never took off because of delays, more controversy and ultimately, a member of the coalition party securing an injunction from High Court Judge Franklyn Holder against the exercise.

Region 4 Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo, has already made two controversial declarations 

The injunction was then thrown out by the Full Court and the Appeal Court upheld this decision, leaving the way clear for GECOM to conduct its recount and finally determine a winner of the elections.

But when given a chance to draft a proposed plan for the recount, Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield drafted one that said the recount would last 156 days.

After a firestorm of criticism, Lowenfield was ordered to return to the drawing board and revise his proposal. The plan is expected to be discussed at today’s statutory meeting. The Opposition-nominated Commissioners have since also submitted a more realistic proposal.