The question on everyone’s mind is that why is Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, being allowed to carry on in the manner in which he is without any strong action being taken against him. It is clear that the CEO has failed to carry out his duties as directed by the Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Justice (Rtd) Claudette Singh.
The nation was shocked to learn that Lowenfield presented concocted figures yet again for the Commission to make a declaration on Tuesday evening. This is his fourth attempt to alter the results of the elections.
The numbers submitted do not reflect those certified at the National Recount which was deemed credible by a high-profile team from Caricom. In fact, the manufactured figures included in Lowenfield’s latest report do not even correspond with the numbers he had concocted in his first report to the Chairperson.
In the first report, Lowenfield claimed that the APNU/AFC won 125,010 votes while the PPP/C won 56,627 – disfranchising some 60 per cent of the electorate on mere allegations that their votes are “invalid”.
But now, Lowenfield’s new report validates votes he would have previously invalidated; the CEO now claims that the APNU/AFC coalition garnered 171,825 votes while the PPP/C gained 166,343 votes.
How the CEO arrived at those figures is unknown, since the certified results from the legally conducted recount exercise supervised by GECOM and a high-level team from the Caribbean Community (Caricom) shows that the PPP/C won with 233,336 votes while the APNU/AFC garnered 217,920.
Lowenfield’s attempts to deviate from the valid results generated from the recount process and subvert the will of the electorate comes on the heels of two previous attempts made by Returning Officer for Region Four, Clairmont Mingo.
The actions of Lowenfield demonstrate clearly that the GECOM CEO is no longer acting professionally as he is constitutionally mandated to, but serving the interest of the APNU/AFC.
When this protracted electoral process is over, those whom have been found complicit in perpetrating the electoral thievery must be brought to justice.
We have already seen the Private Sector, CARICOM through its current Head Mia Mottley, the ABC countries in a joint statement, as well as the OAS, among many others, speak out against either the actions of Lowenfield or the electoral process that he presides over.
President David Granger whose party stands to benefit from the actions of the GECOM CEO, had espoused after rejecting the Carter Center from returning to observe the recount, that CARICOM was the most credible interlocutors to pronounce on Guyana’s affairs.
Mottley minced no words when she asked “on what grounds and by what form of executive fiat does the Chief Elections Officer determine that he should invalidate 1 vote, far less over 115 000 votes when the votes were already certified as valid by officers of the Guyana Elections Commission in the presence of the political parties.
She said further that ““The CARICOM Observer Team was of the unshakeable belief that the people of Guyana expressed their will at the ballot box on March 2 and that the results of the recount certified as valid by the staff of GECOM led to an orderly conclusion on which the declaration of the results of the Election would be made.”
We are not surprised by the mounting calls for the CEO to be suspended and for an investigation to be launched into his conduct. Lowenfield does not operate as an island, he is answerable to the Commission in relation to carrying out his functions.
Not only is Lowenfield obligated to carrying out the directives of the Commission, he operates in a position, and works for an organistion, which requires him to perform with the highest level of integrity, professionalism and neutrality. Even if he has a personal bias towards a particular political party, he must not allow his bias to get in the way of carrying out his duties.
As head of the GECOM Secretariat, Lowenfield has presided over a process which has been perhaps the most controversial in the history of Guyana. His performance has been way below what is expected.