LETTER: At what point is enough too much?

Embattled Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield

Dear Editor,

At what point is all the rope being given Lowenfield too much?

One month later, he has still not completed his assigned duty.  At the last meeting on Tuesday July 15th, Lowenfield refused to submit his report or even say if he had prepared it. Troublingly, the consequential sanctions he faced for continued insubordination have not been applied.  Neither has the task been reassigned to someone else as he had been forewarned.

Four formal letters covering what was required of him as well as verbal instructions were provided to Mr. Lowenfield.  In addition, a number of meetings with generous time intervals between them have been held on the matter.  Yet Lowenfield, with some assistance, continues to hold up the declaration of the election results.  It has been 38 days to date since he was charged with the assignment.  This exceeds the 33 days it took to do the recount of all ten Regions.  It also exceeds the frustratingly unhurried 33 days between the time GECOM made the decision to conduct the recount and actually starting the recount.  A partial chronicle of GECOM’s leisurely stroll is provided in the table.

Body Matter # Days
GECOM Time between recount decision and recount start 33
GECOM Recount Exercise 33
GECOM Time allowed Lowenfield add 10 Regions,  submit report 5
GECOM Decide to instruct Lowenfield to use Recount Data 3
GECOM Time Allowed Lowenfield to Resubmit Repot -He Didn’t 2
GECOM Time Elapsed before Lowenfield files fraudulent report 5
GECOM Time Allowed Lowenfield to Resubmit Repot -Again He Didn’t 3
GECOM Lowenfield  files another fraudulent  report, ignores CCJ order 1
GECOM Report discussed, Lowenfield again given another chance 2
GECOM Lowenfield Refuses to turn in report 1
GECOM Lowenfield not Sanctioned as Pledged ?


By contrast, what was achieved by the High Court, CARICOM personnel and the CCJ in just 14 days is an incongruous counterpoint.

In Just 3 days, the High Court granted an injunction, received submission in regard to Mingo’s fraudulent Region 4 declaration and delivered its judgement.  Cognisant of the urgency the high court worked on Saturday and Sunday.

Overnight four CARICOM Prime Ministers led by Barbados Prime Minister and CARICOM Chair Mia Mottley flew to Guyana and mediated the political impasse over two days.  Then a high level CARICOM recount team was assembled from various islands; a plane was charted and they and flew in to Guyana in 1 day.  GECOM, however, needed time to study the recount agreement, in the meanwhile during this window, Ulita Moore filed a challenged to the recount.  Unable to undertake the mission they had rushed in for, the team left after 2 days.

The CCJ was also cognisant of the urgency.  The CCJ responded and granted a stay on the Court of Appeal’s ruling on the Eslyn David matter within hours.   CCJ’s President, Adrian Saunders, observed that everyone would want this matter to be over as soon as is practicably possible. “We are on a tight time-frame.”  The court received oral and written submissions, studied the arguments, the constitution and precedents and delivered its judgement in one week.

The attached table gives brief recap of the achievements of these bodies in just 14 days in relation to the March 2nd election.

Body Matter # Days
High Court Injunction Against Mingo Numbers 1
High Court Scrap Mingo Region 4 Declaration 2
CARICOM 4 Prime Ministers Fly to Guyana to Mediate 2
CARICOM High Level Recount Team Assembled, Flies in 1
CCJ Injunction and stay of Appeals Court Ruling 1
CCJ Render judgement on Recount Numbers and Valid Votes 7


Everyone including the international community has been acutely aware of the bottleneck to democracy in GECOM itself.  Many have called for the removal of Lowenfield and other tainted officials.

On Wednesday, the US Secretary of state, Mike Pompeo said, “Today, I am announcing visa restrictions on the individuals responsible for or complicit in undermining democracy in Guyana. Immediate family members and such persons may also be subject to restrictions.”


Ron Cheong