Both the Private Sector Commission (PSC) and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), two civil society organisations that played an integral role in the five-month long fight for democracy last year, have lauded the steps being taken to hold high-ranking election officers complicit in electoral fraud, accountable.
See full statements issued by both entities:
Statement by the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce & Industry
The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce & Industry (GCCI) wishes to state that it is pleased that there have been developments to hold recalcitrant officers of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) accountable for their partial and perverse actions during General and Regional Elections (GRE) 2020.
The GCCI, an accredited observer to the GRE 2020, witnessed several acts of obfuscation, open defiance to the instructions of the Commission and the Courts, by agents who are duty-bound to uphold the law. Their open defiance and abdication of their statutory responsibility placed Guyana in a precarious situation where attempts at subverting the will of the people could have placed our country in the league of pariah states.
The GCCI urges that this stark reminder of our difficult history during undemocratic days be used as the impetus to undertake the necessary reforms to the electoral process.
Therefore, the GCCI calls on the leadership of Guyana to ensure that the electoral reform process is undertaken, with greatest of urgency. The GCCI anticipates the input and involvement of a wide range of stakeholders, so as to be able to solicit ideas on the strongest sets of reforms as possible. It is imperative that these reforms are undertaken to ensure that the inalienable rights of every citizen of Guyana are protected, and that our democracy – a pre-condition to a growing economy – is fortified in its safeguarding.
Statement by the Private Sector Commission
The Private Sector Commission (PSC) served as one of the Accredited Observers for the 2nd March, 2020, elections and the subsequent Recount of those elections. Our country will recall that at the conclusion of Election Day, the counting of all of the results of every District, except District 4, had been completed and the Statements of Poll recording the results had been posted at every polling place, including District 4.
The country will recall that the Returning Officer for District 4, Clairmont Mingo, had, however, failed to complete the count, claiming to have fallen sick.
The country will recall that the District 4 count was subsequently resumed under the direction of Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, aided and abetted by Roxanne Myers, but not from the Statements of Poll, but from a spreadsheet of unknown origin, fraudulently distorting the count in favour of the APNU+AFC Coalition.
The PSC Observers at the count were witnesses to Mr. Lowenfield attempting to justify the unlawful use of the spreadsheet as “an administrative decision”.
The country will recall the fact that Mingo, supported by Lowenfield, attempted to declare a falsified elections result, stopped only by an Injunction, preventing the declaration ordered by the Chief Justice.
The country will recall that Mingo, again directed by Lowenfield, aided and abetted by Roxanne Myers, resumed the count and continued to deliberately defy the order of the Court, once again using a spreadsheet and then a bedsheet, failing to complete a credible tabulation and verification of the Statements of Poll.
The Private Sector Commission Observers were actively engaged and present and witnessed firsthand this entire conspiracy along with the Accredited Observers of the Carter Center, the European Union and the Commonwealth and the Diplomatic Representatives of the USA and Canada.
The Private Sector Commission, at a Press Conference following the first of these efforts to declare a fraudulent election result of District 4, was the first Observer Mission to declare its concern that a naked attempt was taking place to rig the elections.
In December 2020, the Private Sector Commission issued a Statement recognizing that Local Government Elections are due by the end of this year (2021), noted further that the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, District 4 Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo, and that a number of other officials assisting these officers are charged before the Court with “misconduct in public office” and expressed its concern that none of these officers have been dismissed from their employment at GECOM, nor have they been suspended from duty.
The PSC said then that “it is unthinkable and certainly unacceptable that GECOM should proceed to conduct Local Government Elections while these officers remain employed and involved in the conducting of these elections”.
If it were that the Chairman of GECOM was failing to take action to clean up the Commission on the excuse that Elections Petitions had been filed on the matter of the elections, this excuse no longer obtains.
The Private Sector Commission, therefore, is particularly pleased to welcome the motion tabled by the Commissioners of GECOM for the removal of these employees and looks forward to GECOM acting condignly in this matter.
As the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry has commented, these officers must be held “accountable for their partial and perverse actions during the General and Regional Elections (GRE) 2020”.
The Private Sector Commission has already pointed out that, since 2nd August, 2020, “our country has already begun to progress and prosper from the political stability in place…from a whole host of new development expenditure private and public” and it becomes critical now that GECOM cleans up its act, that urgent election reforms are pursued by the government and public confidence is restored in the integrity and trust of our election machinery and process.