Experienced constitutional lawyer and Senior Counsel, Ralph Ramkarran has made it clear that Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is not bound to accept any report its Chief Elections Officer (CEO) submits.
Ramkarran made it clear that Article 162 (1) (b) of the Constitution of Guyana grants GECOM Chairperson Claudette Singh all the power she needs to ensure a declaration of the election results is made, with or without CEO Keith Lowenfield’s cooperation.
“The Chairman has the power under Article 162 to take steps, broad powers to take such actions as is necessary to avoid partiality… take steps as necessary, to ensure compliance with laws and the Constitution,” Ramkarran said.
He pointed out that it states: “that Constitution shall issue instructions and take such actions as appear to it necessary and expedient to ensure impartiality, fairness and compliance with the provisions of this Constitution or any act of Parliament. So the Commission has full powers to override any skullduggery by Mr Lowenfield.”
Asked what are his expectations regarding the CEO, Ramkarran was pellucid that he has no illusions or faith where Lowenfield is concerned. However, the onus will be on Claudette Singh to take charge.
“I’m not optimistic that he will comply, but I’m optimistic that the Chairwoman will take a position on the matter. She wrote him asking him to produce a report based on the recount results, so that’s there,” Ramkarran said.
Article 162 (1) (b) of the Constitution says that GECOM shall “issue such instructions and take such action as appear to it necessary or expedient to ensure impartiality, fairness and compliance with the provisions of this Constitution or of any Act of Parliament on the part of persons exercising powers or performing duties connected with or relating to the matters aforesaid.”
It was only a few days ago that former Caribbean Community (Caricom) Chair, Mia Mottley, expressed concern over the CEO’s latest report in which he sought to present concocted figures in favour of the incumbent APNU/AFC coalition and at the same time discard over 115,000 valid votes.
In a video statement, PM Mottley had asserted that Lowenfield’s numbers cannot vary from those coming out of the National Recount. She had noted that from the inception, Caricom has been clear in consistently calling for every vote to be counted in a fair and transparent manner.
The National Recount, which was conducted under the scrutiny of a special Caricom team, shows the PPP/C in a landslide victory with 15,416 more votes than its main political rival, the APNU/AFC coalition.