By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission, Dr. Steve Surujbally has registered his disappointment with accusations by People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Parliamentarian Manzoor Nadir who claimed that Surujbally is being driven by an opposition agenda in preparations for either general or local government elections.
Nadir during a recent radio programme accused the Chairman of colluding with the opposition whilst ignoring legitimate concerns of the PPP/C. But these accusations did not sit well with Dr. Surujbally, who said it was most interesting.
“My First reaction is one of disappointment because I have known Nadir for some time and I don’t know him to be inclined to such doltishness,” the GECOM Chairman told iNews.
He said the reasons for this blatant assertion would be known only to Nadir even as he recalled several similar charges over his 13 years as Chairman of the Commission.
“I do believe that political elements should have matured enough to cease such slander,” he said; adding that “They all know that I have no partisanship and I’m not bias in any way… But I’m not holding my breath that things would change.”
He recognized that Nadir has failed to produce examples to support his claims of collusion to substantiate his assertions.
“If he is saying that there exists evidence to suggest that I voted arbitrarily on pertinent issues along with the Opposition, then the onus is on him to furnish the evidence and not make such statements,” the GECOM Chairman said.
The disappointed Chairman noted while he does not respond to every misinformed person wanting to get coverage, in this case, it must be stated that it is within the purview of GECOM’s mandate to prepare for general, regional and local elections.
“Over the past years except for those cases where we were mandated to prepare for general and regional elections, we have always prepared for the conduct of a local government elections,” Dr. Surujbally pointed out.
He further explained that this year is no different.
“So I don’t understand why Mr. Nadir and others are thinking this is something novel, clandestine… Look we have to be ready with a current and reliable list of electors at all times so it is against this background that the Commission unanimously took the decision to embark on claims and objections exercise to produce an official listed electors.”
He added that from now onwards, every cycle of continuous registration will be followed by a similar claims and objections exercise with the same objective of ensuring that the maximum amounts of eligible voters are on all list.
Dr. Surujbally said this is how it is done in other parts of the world. “It is our mandate and it mustn’t be treated as being driven by a opposition agenda.”
He said currently all deliberations by GECOM are conducted with a view to achieving unanimity or maximum consensus.
“Let me state unambiguously that GECOM’s move to conduct claims and objections exercise is not based on any premise of no confidence motion that could be passed or tabled, we are influenced by the possibility of a snap elections.”
The GECOM Chairman said it may very well be argued that he is colluding with the government in the instance that there is a snap election.
He said the Commission is preparing to have a list ready at all times. He made reference to Trinidad that was able to hold four elections in one year simply because voters list were kept up to date.