Letter: GECOM must not waste time!

Chairperson of GECOM Justice Claudette Singh

Dear Editor,

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) must not waste time deliberating over trivial matters designed to procrastinate the delivery of the institution’s mandate. It is opportune for the Commission, as a collective, to recognise the deliberate, sinister, and abusive approach by the Opposition Commissioners to slow down or immobilise any rational delivery by the institution.

Our nation must stand together strongly and condemn the abrogation of purpose by these cabal Commissioners. Their clandestine and characteristically partisan actions fly in the face of their appointment and accommodation which, luckily, the scripters of the Constitution may have contemplated. Consequently, objectivity at the Commission level cannot be held to ransom, and this is ensured by the odd-number formula preserving the rights to rational decision-making.

GECOM therefore must continue its purposeful forward-thrust, and put all systems in place for the holding of Local Government Elections (LGEs).

At the last meeting of the Commission, GECOM Chairperson Madam Claudette Singh threw out the APNU/PNC-WPA second trivial and procrastination-laden motion. Another motion that failed to disguise its clear intent and design to realise stalling of the holding of the delayed LGEs. One and all must applaud the decisive position taken by Chairwoman Madam Claudette Singh, who perhaps by now has become extremely frustrated and fed up with the obvious undercurrents as those commissioners continue to call for a review of the 2020 polls.

It is of note that the GECOM Chairwoman had addressed a previous motion on the issue, and in her written decision against any internal review of the 2020 Elections, provided acceptable justification. Further, there have been judicial decisions in centrally-related matters and the differentiation between a review of GECOM’s approved procedures in effectively conducting free and fair elections compared to investigations into what transpired during the glaringly fraudulent actions of key elections officials.

Aside from the foregoing, the APNU/AFC Commissioners are well aware of the likely futility of such exercise, given that the former CEO Keith Lowenfield failed to submit the relevant reports, and many of the institution’s computers were wiped clean of related data. As one would suspect, had it not been for the protectors of democracy, who were certainly willing to protect the cast ballots with their lives, our country might have had to rely on the conflicting falsities and indictable fictitiously-created declarations.

The absolute irrationality resonating from the Vincent Alexander-led clan informs an inconsistent and baseless comparison concerning other recent elections at which the then APNU/AFC Government was widely defeated. One must therefore ask obvious questions concerning the reasons why there was no review of the 2016 and 2018 Local Government Elections.

Further, there could be no pretense about the nation’s perception regarding the role of the APNU/AFC Government in ensuring that the PPPC Election Petition against the 2015 Elections results was never heard. It is therefore reasonable to assert that the likes of Vincent Alexander and his clan would have also had many reasons to request internal reviews. So why was there no request for review for the clan on this occasion?

Further, evidence of significant difficulties experienced by the Auditor General in his attempt to Audit GECOM was met with a defiant lack of cooperation from officials of the GECOM Secretariat. There is also public evidence indicating that GECOM’s financial statements were not audited since 2011, but the nation has not heard a word concerning reviews in the heat of the wide stakeholders’ outcry.

It is clear that from 2015 onwards, GECOM staff and the entire operation at GECOM were taken over by a notorious cabal. It is not by chance that several senior members of the GECOM Secretariat who participated in the 2020 elections are facing fraud charges in the courts. It is also factual that several others ran away from GECOM because of the consequences they anticipated would follow.

The GECOM Chairperson is trying her best to improve things at the Commission. However, the harsh reality is that the electoral system must be strengthened by putting measures in place to ensure no more rigged elections. The good news is that the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the March 2020 General and Regional Elections are currently being implemented. In addition, genuine efforts are in place for the holding of LGEs, although the Opposition Commissioners at GECOM are deliberately trying to come up with delaying tactics and are also hell-bent on seeking to postpone the elections. There is no time for any review before LGEs, take it to the courts!

Neil Kumar