Since his appointment late last year, Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chairman Justice (Rtd) James Patterson has had a turbulent reign. And earlier today (Friday), when asked whether he would rule out resigning as Chairman, Patterson noted that he would not.
During a press conference at GECOM’s secretariat, Patterson complained about challenges he is facing at the helm of the entity.
“It is even more sad to see that the default position of our politicians seems to be to play the racial card. It seems, too, that integrity has been put in a blind trust. It seems to be that politicians have retreated into ethno-political camps. That has got to stop if this country is to move forward,” he said.
He spoke of “machinations” within and outside of GECOM, which are affecting his work as chairman of the electoral body.
Patterson claimed that he has done “all that is humanly possible to weld the opposing factions together but it seems that things are getting worse”.
Patterson added that there were enemies that were undermining GECOM’s work aimed at stalling the forthcoming elections. “The Commission has been experiencing at every turn designs and machinations to stymie the elections coming fore,” he said.
He also complained about the court cases GECOM has been embroiled in.
Patterson hastened to add that he was not saying that aggrieved persons must not go to the Courts.
The latest legal challenge against GECOM was a case filed to have 50 names removed from nominator lists for Local Government elections. The applicants claim that their names were fraudulently affixed to the lists and they were barred from removing them.
GECOM has also been hauled to the Courts regarding the 2015 elections. Patterson’s appointment itself, which was under a cloud of controversy, was also challenged at the High Court level.