Who is instructing GECOM’s lawyer?

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Stanley Marcus, SC
Stanley Marcus, SC

With no meeting of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) since June 4, 2019, who has been instructing the electoral body’s lawyer, Stanley Marcus?

Marcus, SC, has been leading GECOM’s case before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in relation to the no-confidence motion related cases.

Marcus told the CCJ yesterday (June 24, 2019) that GECOM must have house-to-house registration and that the earliest a voters’ list will be ready is by December 25, 2019 – pushing elections which ought to have been held since before March 21, 2019 – to next year.

But the question is, how is GECOM’s lawyer arriving at these positions when the Commission has not met to deliberate on these matters. Who is instructing GECOM’s lawyer?

Commissioner Sase Gunraj is also in the dark. “The Commission as a whole did not meet or discuss the appointment of Mr. Marcus as Counsel for the Commission and I am not sure who is instructing him,” Gunraj told reporters yesterday.

He was also astounded by the arguments being advanced by Marcus. “I sat in the Court in astonishment, as the purported and I use this word very deliberately, the purported Counsel for the GECOM, Mr. Stanley Marcus is deliberately pronouncing and expounding on the provisions of the National Registration Act and the other attendant legislation that deals with the refreshing of the list…In fact, my astonishment grows because I am not sure who is instructing him.”

GECOM has already been accused by political players of being in cahoots with the Government. With three government-appointed commissioners, and a unilaterally and unconstitutionally appointed chairman, the Elections Body has been accused of taking political instructions – to delay elections.

GECOM Commissioner, Sase Gunraj

Gunraj said since the passage of the no-confidence motion in December last year, GECOM has failed to take steps to ensure its readiness for the elections, which ought to have been held in three months.

It is now six months after the passage of the motion, and GECOM – through its lawyer – claims it is still not ready for the polls.

The CCJ is expected to hand down consequential orders on July 12 about how Guyana should proceed in these circumstances.