[www.inewsguyan.com] – Commissioners of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), representing the interest of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) tabled a motion at the Statutory Meeting of GECOM on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, to instruct the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, to withdraw the application to the Courts to strike out the Elections Petition.
The petition was filed by Mr. Ganga Persaud with respect to the May 11, 2015 General and Regional Elections and according to PPP GECOM Commissioner, Robeson Been, the motion “was negativized, after equal division, by the casting vote of the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission, Dr. Steve Surujbally.
Benn told a news conference at Freedom House on Saturday, December 05, 2015 that “this action by Gecom, in our view, serves to confirm that Gecom is unwilling to open up itself to public scrutiny by way of a Court process and is, therefore, unable, as it continues to operate, to deliver free, fair, transparent elections to the people of Guyana, as it mandated by law.”
According to Benn, the action of voting against the motion by the GECOM “appears to go in consort with those efforts which put of the May 2015 elections, in grave doubts and lends credence to major stakeholders claims of rigging and fraud at those polls.”
He further noted, “This action does not augur well for the conduct of Gecom and the fairness of the upcoming March 18, 2016 Local Government Elections.”
Benn claimed that the pursuit of the application to quash the 2015 Elections Petition is already incurring a cost to GECOM and the taxpayers of nearly $7M, “with no end in sight, along with the attendant delay to any resolution of the Petition.”
According to Benn, the refusal by GECOM to provide any report on the conduct and results of the May 2015 elections is of great concern and undermines the Commission’s ability to make recommendations and changes which will positively impact on the conduct of future elections.
“Commissioners have repeatedly raised great concerns as to the policies and practices of Gecom with respect to: diversity; ethnicity and gender in its hiring employment and are anxious to receive a response on these matters so as to respond to public and stakeholders concerns,” Benn told the news conference.