By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Some very damning charges have been leveled against the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Dr. Steve Surujbally by Member of Parliament (MP) of the ruling People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Manzoor Nadir.
Nadir has accused the Chairman of being driven by an opposition agenda in his preparations and that of GECOM for either local or general elections.
Nadir, who was speaking on the radio program ‘Hard Talk’ on 90.1 Love FM also took a swipe at Dr. Surujbally’s impartiality by accusing him of colluding with the opposition and ignoring what he said were legitimate concerns.
Nadir was appearing along with Alliance for Change Executive Member, Dominic Gaskin to discuss the pending vote of no – confidence against the administration and Opposition’s concerns of lack of accountability and transparency on the government’s part.
“I would like to see the voting record of the Chairman in terms of bringing consensus or siding with the Opposition,” Nadir said as he sought to solidify his earlier claims; adding that “I like to judge things on the evidence.”
He said too, “Surujbally and the Opposition are preparing for a national election because they feel that the no confidence motion will succeed… all plans are for national elections and I would say to Steve directly: you are preparing for national elections because you are driven by Opposition agenda.”
Nadir claimed that all criteria for the holding of the long overdue Local Government Elections (LGE) have not been meet; adding that while GECOM says it is prepared for LGE, what it is really prepared for is a national elections.
To this end, Gaskin observed that while the AFC has no representation on GECOM, it has been a victim, in two separate elections, of mistakes made by the Commission.
“I find it ironic to see the government complaining and making allegations against GECOM’s ability… if GECOM says they are ready then so be it,” he added.
Gaskin believes the administration is bent on destroying GECOM’s credibility; suggesting that there may be an ulterior motive for that.
This assertion was quickly debunked by Nadir who said the administration was interested in the holding of fair and free from fear elections.
Gaskin pointed out that the AFC is founded on a platform of good governance and said the no confidence vote is another means towards that end.
AFC’s Leader Khemraj Ramjattan has already written to President Donald Ramotar, signaling his intent to bring the no confidence motion against the administration even as the main opposition – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) – has announced its support for the motion.
Gaskin and Nadir went head to head on the motion which surrounds the contention that the government, particularly the Minister of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh has been spending public monies illegally and without parliamentary approval.
Gaskin made it clear that the motion, which is expected to be laid before the House in October, was not whimsical and that much seriousness surrounded it.
Nadir has defended the spending once again even as he cited previous
Court rulings on the issues of budget cuts.
“When contentious issues arise the best place to test it is the courts and even if you don’t like what the courts are saying then go to the court of public opinion, that’s your right,” Nadir added.
He accused the Opposition of being an obstacle to progress through its consecutive reduction of the national budget over the last three years.
But according to Gaskin, there are sound rationales for the budget cuts.
“I don’t see the progress Nadir is alluding to,” Gaskin said even as Nadir accused the opposition of being “dead against development under the PPP government.”