Letter: GECOM must be decisive

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Dear Editor,

The reactions to the elections fiasco of 2020 and the role and approach of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) are under the highest level of scrutiny. The cocksure position of the Commission raises many questions.

These unanswered questions signal that continued failure to act objectively would further hasten the organisation’s impact as an impediment rather than a democratic solution. This our nation simply cannot afford, given the almost catastrophic outcome of the last General and Regional Elections.

GECOM must be decisive going forward if it wants to regain the confidence of our citizens in the execution of its constitutional mandate. One has to be brutal and frankly condemn the snail’s pace or, rather, the inaction of the Chairwoman and Commission to cleanse the organisation. It is more than a year since Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield and his cohorts openly defied the directions of Chairwoman Madam Justice (retired) Claudette Singh, after both the Courts and the Commission had ruled on related matters brought before them.

It is inexplicable that GECOM has been so indolent although an abundance of public evidence exists which underscores and highlights the outlandish thievery attempts executed by the Lone Ranger CEO, along with Chief Rigger Clairmont Mingo and Roxanne Myers.

The trio have proved that they are unsuitable to be around the preparation machinery for the holding of any election. Consequent to their surreptitious manoeuvres, the Guyanese people were humiliated, and suffered day after day as we were held to ransom for five long months, with the riggers’ numerous attempts to derail the elections.

These unfit senior members of the GECOM Secretariat are presently before the Courts for fraud and misconduct in public office, but there is certainly no need to await the court’s decision in these matters. The Commission itself has the legal authority to hire and fire staff, and these corrupt staff members must be dismissed immediately for GECOM to proceed with preparations for the holding of Local Government Elections this year.

Related in this regard, the Constitution states: “The Commission – (a) shall exercise general direction and supervision over the registration of electors and the administrative conduct of all elections of members of the National Assembly; and (b) shall issue such instructions and take such action as appear to it necessary or expedient to ensure impartiality, fairness, and compliance with the provisions of this Constitution or of any Act of Parliament on the part of persons exercising powers or performing duties connected with or relating to the matters aforesaid…”

It therefore defies logic and rationality that the Commission’s lack of action and slothful disposition have not yet confronted a vigilant approach to the necessary review of its staff. While the trio hold the dominant leadership positions, it has to be acknowledged that the corruption in GECOM is intrusive and far deeper.

Senior staff members Michelle Miller and Denise Cummings are also before the courts.
In addition, Election Officer Shefern February and Information Technology Officer Enrique Livan are also accused, and are facing charges related to inflating the results of Region #4 elections in favour of the APNU/AFC.

Further, there are serious accusations against others for allegedly giving wrong advice and directions to the Presiding Officers in Region #4. This network of vipers, who are still currently on GECOM’s payroll, must certainly be screened going forward.

It is recalled that the APNU big bosses Joseph Harmon and Granger announced that the Elections were free and fair on March 02, 2020. As the reality dawned on March 03 that they were rejected by the Guyanese people, backdoor manoeuvres were activated. They were, however, caught red-handed trying to rig the elections by using the “fraudulent” spreadsheet. They then tried to derail the elections!

For too long, the PNC was allowed to manipulate the Election machinery and rig elections, and this must be halted now. As a consequence, we need to have Electoral Reforms, so that we would never again have rigged elections to address the establishment of a system that would not be easily manipulated.

For those in the PNC who are conveniently talking about shared governance, there is a need for you to win the trust and confidence of the nation. Who would want to partner with cheaters and riggers?

The PNC’s track record clearly shows that it is all about using and abusing other parties for the assumption of power, and subsequently kick them, once power is attained.

In 1964 the United Force suffered this fate, and then in 2015 the AFC was used and kicked to the curb. Of note is that the PNC ruled this country for 33 years and never consider shared governance.

Conversely, one must not ignore the increasing role and inclusivity of the Civic component as an approach of the PPP to shared Governance, as a starting point for discussions.

We must have free and fair elections, and develop trust and confidence in parties advocating for governing roles in our nation-building. An undecisive GECOM would not be able to establish the clear lines that are needed going forward.

In context, the Chairwoman and Commissioners must get their act together. GECOM must be prepared to have Local Government Elections this year.

Sincerely,
Neil Kumar