Mr Granger and his PNC/APNU Commissioners on the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) look blindly to the other side while pretending that the Secretariat is functioning objectively, and void their party’s infiltration. It is absolutely the opposite and the situation has become so nasty that agents in the GECOM Secretariat are surreptitiously redesigning even the normally expected release of transparent information with intent to kerfuffle and confuse the public.
Opposition Commissioners and the objective media certainly have their work cut out to expose every sneaky trick; the Government Commissioners are now advancing, aided by the GECOM Secretariat.
There have been far too many occasions where individual public protest by Opposition Commissioners had to be used to correct the publication of seemingly independent Secretariat decisions, which runs in direct conflict with the decisions of the Commission. The situation is indeed vexatious and the Chairwoman has to put her foot down and make an example of the responsible person(s).
Now emerged in the backdoor attempts is the new Vincent Alexander-led buffoon of the highly suspicious removal of approximately 20 thousand persons from the Preliminary List of Electors who have not uplifted their voter Identification Cards. The Secretariat is quiet, knowing that the wicked move seeks to target and disenfranchise thousands of citizens from voting.
This runs directly in conflict with the Chief Justice’s ruling and is inconsiderate of the numerous other reasons why the cards have been yet uplifted. This column rejects the proposition of highlighting persons whom the Lowenfield’s House-to-House Registration enumerators/activists did not reach, and much more will be said on this farcical recommendation in a follow-up article.
After all the constitutional abuse and mockery in the courts, Mr Granger has finally proclaimed March 2, 2020, as the date for General and Regional Elections following the advice of GECOM Chairwoman, Justice (retired), Madam Claudette Singh. Disappointingly, the date is way beyond the constitutionally instructed timeline. Given the current focus of new surprising matters PNC/APNU Commissioners are now raising at the meetings of the Commission, it begs the pertinent question of when will GECOM release to the public their work schedule with the relevant and appropriate costs?
It is of note that many persons who worked during the controversial House-to-House Registration are awaiting payments. There are questions regarding whether the PNC was providing more than one scrutineer to the respective team who are now demanding payment. This column was reliably informed that senior staff at GECOM did inform the PNC representative that those scrutineers will not be paid and this seems to have created a massive conflict since there have been demands from Sophia for the extra milking cows to be fed.
Given that contractors, service providers, and other hustlers are still to be paid, it is necessary that GECOM let the public know how much money was budgeted for the un-finished controversial House-to-House Registration. GECOM is yet to answer serious audit queries for 2015, 2016 and 2018 elections for which the Secretariat expended millions of dollars to purchase equipment, stationaries, and unnecessary accessories for the running of elections. When will GECOM do a proper stocktaking? Persons are emptying the bonds, people are seeing, and they are talking. The Auditor General owes this nation an explanation and GECOM must be accountable.
There is much confusion, distrust, anxiety, fear, and corruption at GECOM. Chairman Justice Claudette Singh comes highly recommended and is a competent person. Given that these matters have a direct impact on the image and credibility of the institution, the time is most opportune for her to look at the Auditor General’s report and take decisive actions to remedy the continuing abuse. Let the chips fall where they may and pull the respective culpable persons from the Secretariat and deal with all the challenges and corrupt spending.
The media houses have made public, the numerous breaches at GECOM and the damning Auditor General reports. However, there seems to be no end to the corruption and unaccountability that are being encouraged and acted out at the establishment under the Secretariat’s leadership of Lowenfield. Despite Lowenfield’s denial of procurement breaches at GECOM, the Auditor General’s reports over the last few years are saying otherwise. It is, therefore, necessary that Justice Singh, persons and groups participating in the upcoming election, take a closer look at the inefficacies of Mr Lowenfield.
Further, the special audit conducted by the AG Office in 2017 remains largely incomplete due to non-cooperation by officers of the entity. The previous Chairman, James Patterson, was also very defensive of GECOM’s unaccountability.
The situation created by the cabal permeates the Secretariat’s output with lawlessness and discrepancies at GECOM, which are widespread and overlapping.
Suddenly everyone wants to be employed with GECOM because of the perks and other benefits, not to speak of the lavish expenditures on transportation, meals and other miscellaneous expenses. Accountability is a strange world under the Lowenfield Secretariat, which he has converted to a ‘fattening cow’ depending on whether one is affiliated to PNC/APNU or the other side of the divide.
The general public demands swift action by Justice (retired), Claudette Singh, who must accept all international help she can get, in ensuring that GECOM’s image and performance are improved, heading to March 2, 2020.