Statement by GECOM Commissioners; Shadick, Benn and Gunraj

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GECOM Commissioners; Sase R. Gunraj, Robeson Benn and Bibi Shadick have stated that upon publication of the results of the 2016 Local Government Elections in the Official Gazette, it was discovered that there were several Local Authority Areas where there was equality in the number of seats allocated to contestants.

The Commissioners noted that in several of the Local Authority Areas where there were equality in the number of seats allocated to contestants, and where there is now an equality of votes in favour of more than one candidate for Chairman, the Overseers are suggesting that an appointment will be made by the Minister, without more.

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

In a recent statement, the Commissioners took the opportunity to restate the position as defined in the relevant legislation and to remind that the law mandates an Election to be held by the persons registered to vote in the specific Municipality or Local Authority Areas, and it its only in the event of an equality of votes in favour of more than one candidate at that Election that the Minister can appoint a Mayor from among the candidates securing an equal number of votes.

 

The following is the full statement issued by the Commissioners:

The Municipal and District Councils Act, Cap. 28:01 of the Laws of Guyana sets out the rules governing Local Authority Areas within the Republic of Guyana.

Section 13 of the said Act, as stated in the marginal note thereof, sets the procedure for the Election of Mayor and Deputy. Specifically, Section 13 (6) provides that in the event of an equality of votes in favour of more than one candidate, the Town Clerk shall appoint a date for the Election of Mayor by the persons registered to vote in the specific Municipality.

It is only in the event of an equality of votes in favour of more than one candidate at that Election that the Minister can appoint a Mayor from among the candidates securing an equal number of votes.

This position applies to other Local Authority Areas (Neighbourhood Democratic Councils), and particularly the Election of Chairman and Vice Chairman, by virtue of Section 39 of the said Act.

Upon publication of the results of the Local Government Elections in the Official Gazette, it was discovered that there were several Local Authority Areas where there was equality in the number of seats allocated to contestants.

Thereupon, BibiShadick, Commissioner of the Guyana Elections Commission met with Mr. Keith Lowenfield, Chief Election Officer, Mr. Vishnu Persaud, Deputy Chief Election Officer, and Ms. Juanita Barker, Legal Officer, to discuss the said issue. The discussions ended with the understanding that the procedure to be adopted was that which we have outlined above in accordance with the provisions of the cited law.

This position was confirmed by Mr. Keith Lowenfield, Chief Election Officer, in several meetings and conversations with Commissioners and who indicated that a document to this effect was being prepared for circulation.

It has come to our attention that in several of the Local Authority Areas where there were equality in the number of seats allocated to contestants and where there is now an equality of votes in favour of more than one candidate for Chairman, the Overseers are suggesting that an appointment will be made by the Minister, without more.

We take this opportunity to restate the position as defined in the relevant legislation and to remind that the law mandates an Election to be held by the persons registered to vote in the specific Municipality or Local Authority Areas, and it its only in the event of an equality of votes in favour of more than one candidate at that Election that the Minister can appoint a Mayor from among the candidates securing an equal number of votes.

 

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