GECOM finalising advertisements to replace Lowenfield, Myers & Mingo

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The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is currently finalising the terms under which advertisements would be published seeking replacements for top officers who were fired last week.

Last week, GECOM’s Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield, his deputy Roxanne Myers and Returning Officer for Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) Clairmont Mingo, were all dismissed.

Following GECOM’s statutory meeting today, Commissioner Sase Gunraj explained that efforts are underway to replace them.

In fact, he said the issue of crafting the advertisements was the main focus of today’s meeting.

The advertisements will be seeking replacements for the vacant positions, which must be filled ahead of Local Government Elections (LGE) which are due this year.

Gunraj had told reporters last week that LGE are still possible this year, with the termination of the compromised GECOM trio.

Lowenfield, Myers and Mingo had attempted to sway the results of the March 2020 General and Regional Elections in favour of the then A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government.

The three election officers are all before the courts on a number of electoral fraud charges in relation to the 2020 polls.

After weeks of false starts, a motion to have them dismissed from GECOM was passed by the commission on Thursday last.

With the embattled trio gone, Commissioner Sase had noted there are still a few months remaining and if GECOM is serious enough about holding the Local Government polls then this can be done.

Local Government Elections is constitutionally mandated to be held every two years and with the last one held in 2018, it is due this year.

While, Government has reassured that Local Government polls will be held this year, it has cited the need for public confidence to be restored in GECOM following last year’s March 2 General and Regional Elections, which left Guyana embroiled in a political and electoral crisis for five months. As such, calls were mounted for the removal of key electoral officials who are responsible for those events.

Nevertheless, some $1.1 billion has been set aside in GECOM’s 2021 budget for the hosting of Local Government polls. This includes $237.7 million for the printing of 500,000 ballots for LGE.

Only last week, President Dr Irfaan Ali, during a press conference to mark his Administration’s one year anniversary in office, said Local Government polls is still on Government’s agenda, while noting that it is up to GECOM to advise on its readiness.