President restates need for electoral system in which Guyanese, int’l community would have confidence

President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, His Excellency, Dr. Mohamad Irfaan Ali, presents Mr. Manoj Narayan with his Letter of Appointment
President Dr. Mohamad Irfaan Ali, presents Mr. Manoj Narayan with his Letter of Appointment (DPI photo)

President Irfaan Ali on Thursday restated his Government’s commitment to revamping the electoral system and bring it to a level where all Guyanese and the international community will have confidence in its ability to work in the best interest of the nation.

President Ali expressed this desire on the sidelines of the swearing in ceremony of Attorney-at-law Manoj Narayan who will take the place of Minister Robeson Benn as a Government Commissioner at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

“Today, with the appointment of Mr. Manoj on the Commission I am sure that it will help you (GECOM Chairwoman) and the Commission to advance the works as you seek to not only address the many issues that are before you in relation to the concluded election but more importantly, as we work towards strengthening of the electoral system, as we work towards having an electoral system in which the people of our country can have confidence in it and one in which the international community can be comfortable, that Guyana has strong democratic institutions, that will always act in the best interest of democracy and the people of our country,” the Head of State said.

President Ali posited that the Narayan’s appointment comes at a critical time when several issues have to be addressed in light of the political chaos which engulfed the nation following the March 2 General and Regional Elections.

The PPP/C Government had restated its commitment to launch a forensic review into the events that unfolded after the March 2 polls and holding persons accountable for attempting to subvert democracy in Guyana.

President Ali, during his maiden address as Head of State had said that his Government has an obligation to the nation and to themselves to ensure that no other generation of Guyanese is subjected to such unlawful behaviour which transpired for five months, when the country was embroiled in a major political and electoral impasse.

“All of us are painfully aware of the trauma and anguish that our people endured over the past five months as vigorous attempts were made to destroy our democratic credentials, and deny the will of the electorate… Therefore, a review of events – related to the electoral process over the last five months – will begin shortly in order to determine, forensically, exactly what transpired, and to hold accountable any persons who sought to pervert and corrupt the system,” the Head of State had announced.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Nandlall had posited that the entire country would like to know “who were behind the attempts, the intellectual authors and the actual executioners, and we want to know what motivated (them).”

Nandlall had argued that there are several components of the electoral process which must be addressed to prevent a recurrence of what happened post March 2.

According to Nandlall, Guyana will have elections again in five years, and the country must not be allowed go to elections again “using the same institutional weaknesses”.

The AG had said that the government is hoping for a review of the systems from many perspectives and expressed hope that at the end of the day, the public will be satisfied that “we did a great deal in our attempts to improving the system, while at the same bringing to justice those who may have committed an offence”.

Meanwhile, on the sidelines of the swearing-in ceremony, Mr. Narayan told reporters that persons’ confidence in GECOM had suffered a great deal both locally and internationally, due to actions of some persons within the electoral machinery. He noted that these persons will be held accountable for their actions, adding that his work begins immediately to help rebuild confidence in the electoral system.

Narayan will join Commissioners Sase Gunraj and Bibi Shadick in representing the PPP/C Government at GECOM.

Chairwoman of the Guyana Elections Commission, Justice (R’etd) Claudette Singh was also at the swearing ceremony today.