Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, could face severe penalty, including being jailed for life, if he persists in including erroneous numbers in his report which he is required to present to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) today for final declaration, since this would amount to “conspiracy to commit electoral fraud”.
“Any report prepared without using the totals of the valid votes cast, which he has already submitted to the Commission, would amount to a conspiracy to commit electoral fraud at Common Law, a most grievous offence, which can attract a severe a penalty as life imprisonment. Those who are in the conspiracy with him are exposed to the same criminal liabilities,” the Peoples Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C), said via a press release issued this morning.
Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Retired Justice Claudette Singh, on Tuesday, directed the CEO to prepare his final report, pursuant to Article 177 (2) (b) of the Constitution and Section 96 of the Representation of the People Act, and in accordance with the numbers emanating from the recently-concluded national recount.
Those numbers show the PPP/C winning the elections by over 15,000 votes and effectively ousting the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition from the seat of power.
Lowenfield’s report is due at 13:00h today (Thursday) and legal experts have argued that, contrary to what is being touted by elements within the APNU/AFC Coalition, he (Lowenfield) has no authority to “willy-nilly” determine the validity of votes cast in the elections, rather he should be guided by the prescribed laws.
“It is public knowledge that the CEO has already tabulated the total valid votes cast and total valid votes cast for each political party from totals certified by his own Secretariat, during the national recount exercise. All he is required now to do, therefore, is to prepare the statutory form showing the allocation of seats for each political party under Section 99 of the Representation of the People Act and to signify that Dr. Irfaan Ali has been elected President of Guyana, under Article 177 of the Constitution. He can do nothing more and nothing less,” the PPP explained in its release.
The PPP, however, argued that in the event that Mr. Lowenfield persists in subverting the elections results, by using erroneous figures in the preparation of the report, “then the Commission has sufficiently wide powers under Article 162 of the Constitution, to declare the results of the elections, as produced by the national recount exercise”.
The PPP reminded that the Chairperson of the Commission has already made it clear that the Commission has no jurisdiction to address the allegations of irregularities, stating that those are matters for the High Court.
The CARICOM Observer team also found these irregularities not to be “…sufficient nor substantial cause, to call the 2020 results into question.” As a result, the Chairperson rejected Mr. Lowenfield’s adjustments to the elections results based upon these irregularities and gave him very clear and precise instructions to prepare a report, required under Section 96 of the Representation of the People Act.
Political stakeholders have accused the APNU+AFC of being engaged in a relentless effort to prevent the accurate results of the 2nd March 2020 National and Regional elections from being declared in an effort to illegally hold on to political power.