Letter: GECOM must now prepare for LGEs

0

Dear Editor,

Guyanese are now fully supportive of the actions taken by the Guyana Elections Commission to terminate the services of the notorious ‘TRIO’. Gone are Keith Lowenfield, Chief Elections Officer; Roxanne Myers, Deputy Chief Elections Officer; and Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo.

Guyanese are fully cognizant of the clever and brutal manoeuvres that the PNC did to survive in office. Ever since the passing of the No Confidence Motion on that memorable night of 22nd December 2018, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) was supposed to be ready to hold National and Regional Elections. However, the Judiciary was brutally used to keep the defeated ANPNU/AFC in office.

What was most disgusting and frustrating was all the skullduggery that was used to perpetuate the Granger-led government in office. While the court was laughed at as some of the ‘learned’ men and women were unable to do simple addition and subtraction, Guyana was looked at as a nation of “low” people.

Granger’s unilateral decision to appoint the unfit and improper Patterson as Chairman of GECOM was not accepted, as the Caribbean Court of Justice ruled against his appointment. However, the PNC was able to remove Deputy (CEO) Vishnu Persaud and replace him with their own Roxanne Myers.

Several bad decisions were taken in the employment of staff at GECOM. We must never forget that brilliant persons who did the training for Polling Day Officials and training officers were never given the opportunity to work at GECOM. The PNC took full control of the recruiting of staff at GECOM, as Lowenfield took complete control of the hiring of staff.

It is imperative for the Commission to employ men and women of integrity and people who can win the confidence and trust of the nation. Lowenfield is presently before the court facing three counts of misconduct in public office and three counts of forgery, while Mingo is charged with four counts of misconduct in public office and Myers with two counts of misconduct in public office.

Further, GECOM must deal with the others who are continuing to be at GECOM and contributed significantly to the attempted fraud. Persons such as (CEO) clerks Michelle Miller and Denise Bob-Cummings; Elections Officer Shefern February, and Information Technology Officer Enrique Livan, all of whom are also before the courts.

GECOM Secretariat was allowed to operate as if untouchable. Corruption was the order of the day. Phantom workers and contracts must be fully exposed. Our experience since 2015 is indeed a revelation. In 2015, Melaine Marshall pulled out the broad sheet and we objected vehemently. However, that election petition is still sleeping in the courts.

My further experience reminds me of 2018 Local Government Elections, when the presiding officer who was working at Peters’ Hall Primary School switched the PPP/C Constituency votes and give them to the PNC. However, that very night we discovered the wicked act, and the comrades went back and the presiding officer made the correction and gave the votes to the PPP/C candidate.

GECOM must immediately put proper systems in place, and fill all the vacancies with men and women who would restore trust and confidence in the organisation. The immediate task must be to put LGEs on the front burner. Hence, this nation is looking forward for a short period of continuous registration, followed by a Claims and Objection period and the preparation of a Register of Registrants. The PNC used the Task Force, and after frustrating the LGEs for several years, there were no LGEs after the 1994 Elections. The PPP/C wallop the PNC at the last two LGEs, and expectations are high that the PPP/C will do better in this upcoming LGEs.

Sincerely,
Neil Kumar