What a relief! GECOM, the Guyana Elections Commission, has started its clean-up campaign, and I hope it will take the job to the very end.
The body is just too pivotal to the country, and therefore must not be found in any situation of compromise. This unanimous decision is an auspicious beginning. It is that the Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Mr. Keith Lowenfield; Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO), Ms. Roxanne Myers, and the 2020 General and Regional Elections Region Four (4) Returning Officer (RO), Mr. Clairmont Mingo, will proceed on their respective annual leave, effective from Monday, 28th June, 2021.
For now, the CEO will proceed on 42 days annual leave, the DCEO will be on 120 days leave, and Mr. Clairmont Mingo will be on 35 days leave. This decision will facilitate the Commission’s deliberation on the three motions tabled by the Government-nominated Commissioners, seeking the immediate dismissal of these three, as well as the course of action to be adopted to conclude this process. The Commission is hoping that these discussions would be concluded within the shortest possible time, and I think that this is how most people want it.
This decision has its causative factors going back to June 01, 2020, when the People’s Progressive Party’s Commissioners (Sase Gunraj, Bibi Shadick and Robseson Benn) tabled three motions for the “immediate dismissal” of the trio.
We can all recall how the world at large actually witnessed how the RO, in a most ostentatious and bizarre fashion, deliberately obstructed the ratification of the total votes cast in favour of each list in the district, which should have been done by totalling the votes recorded in favour of the list in accordance with the Statements of Poll, as is required by the Guyana Constitution. Instead, this officer, seemingly in obedience to a hidden master and voice, ended up using scores that were incongruent and inconsistent with the figures and numbers on the Statements of Poll.
And it was from this ‘trumped up tally’ that all kinds of devious ‘twists and turns’ erupted, which almost jeopardised the results, as there was a five-month delay in the authentic declaration of the President of Guyana following the March 02, 2020 Guyana Elections.
We know, too, that the infamous trio are currently in front of the court, and in some of their allies’ mind, the feeling was that their fate should have first been legally determined, after which GECOM could have then acted. This means that they would have remained in their substantive posts at GECOM. However, in unison, Sase Gunraj, Bibi Shadick and Robeson Benn thought the accused trio should immediately be removed, so that Guyanese could again place their trust and confidence in GECOM, as it is still a functioning body, even though the March 02 Guyana Elections are now over.
Overall, the legal hurdles in front of CEO Mr. Keith Lowenfield, DCEO Ms. Roxanne Myers and RO Mr. Clairmont Mingo are quite substantial and ominous. They have a few days as their matter is slated for June 29, 2021, and at that time, they will have to answer to some fresh charges of ‘conspiracy to defraud electors’ during the March 02, 2020 General and Regional Elections.
All Guyana witnessed the spectacle, as these three repeatedly attempted to hijack an entire election, and in so doing, brought down self-condemnation and disrepute to GECOM. In fact, there is quite a repository of public evidence available and accessible in the public domain to question the integrity of Lowenfield, Myers and Mingo, and their suitability to function during another election in Guyana.
Then, depending on how the legal course ends, these three may not be able to redeem themselves to a position of professional employability.
On the moral and ethical sides, the three have been condemned so terribly that it has been touted that “…to find nothing wrong with the GECOM trio’s conduct during the elections is to question one’s value system.” The exact words are that “If you are going to defend those kinds of wrongs, those kinds of blatant rigging of elections…trying to steal an entire country, [then] it speaks to [your] value system.”