Opposition GECOM Commissioners forced to walk out in protest of chairman’s autocratic approach

GECOM Commissioners; from left, Sase Gunraj, Robeson Benn and Bibi Shadick

The statutory meeting of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) which was hosted on April 2 ended abruptly after the Opposition-nominated GECOM Commissioners were forced to walk out, in protest of the Chairman James Patterson’s refusal to allow them to participate in a fixed agenda item that is under ‘’Commissioners’ Comments’’.

See statement from PPP Commissioners below:

Chairman Patterson in the most autocratic manner was seemingly intent on only allowing continued discussion on “Elections” arising out of House-to-House Registration, a matter on which discussion ended abruptly at the last Statutory Meeting of Tuesday, March 26, 2019.

It is evident that the Chairman in collusion with the Government-nominated Commissioners, intended to avoid any references to the following matters:

1.      The scathing Editorial by Stabroek News in its April 1, 2019 edition, which exposed the Chairman’s preference and behavior relating to the Vishnu Persaud matter which engaged the attention of the Ethnic Relations Commission;

2.      A letter proposing legal proceedings, under the hand of Mohabir Anil Nandlall, Attorney-at-Law representing Commissioner Robeson Benn, requesting that GECOM CEO Keith Lowenfield, inter alia “…refrain from embarking on or proceeding with this unlawful and unconstitutional exercise…,” that being House-to-House Registration;

3.      The ongoing legal proceedings at the Caribbean Court of Justice, arising out of the No-Confidence motion which was passed in the National Assembly on 21st December 2018, in which GECOM was added as a party.

In view of the Chairman’s attempts to avoid initial comments and to proceed with an agenda item not listed or agreed to, Commissioners Sase Gunraj and Benn, in the absence of Commissioner Bibi Shadick were forced to walk-out of the meeting, while protesting the undemocratic posture of the Chairman with support of the Government’s Commissioners.


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