The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), by law, is supposed to be in readiness to hold elections at any time and the House-to-House activities run contrary to the mandate of the constitutional agency and the rulings of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which recently addressed pertinent judicial hearings to which the organisation is bound.
Keith Lowenfield, as the CEO of the GECOM Secretariat, does not have the functional responsibility to hire staff for GECOM. Neither is the Secretariat authorised to do House-to-House Registration on its own. It is the Commission, comprised of the Chairman and Commissioners, which has the authority to Gazette the date of commencement of House-to-House Registration. In this instance, Keith Lowenfield has undertaken to conduct the activities with biased contradictory intent and to the whims and fancies of the PNC/APNU dictate.
Further, there is no publication of commencement of House-to-House Registration on the date July 20, 2019, by the GECOM Secretariat in the Official Gazette. Such is required if the activity was formally approved and supported its constitutional role. More serious is the fact that GECOM did not write the PPP Chief Scrutineer, Mr Mustapha, requesting his party’s List of Scrutineers to work during the House-to-House Registration.
Additionally, it is public knowledge that the Commission was not properly in place at the commencement of the House-to-House Registration since the Chairman had resigned. Lowenfield cannot usurp the position of the Commission while outside of the court; the lawyer, Marcus, cannot speak bindingly on citizens on behalf of GECOM because he is not under employ as a staff of GECOM. It will be interesting to see how and who is paying all these lawyers for GECOM.
One will recall that Marcus had informed the CCJ that GECOM would be ready for election on December 25, 2019, when Opposition Commissioners, who are a part of the Commission, had no knowledge of any such position. The cake-shop-like approach of the Government Commissioners and Lowenfield belies the full uncertainty and lack of confidence that is now publicly enveloping the organisation.
Importantly, the APNU/AFC previously went to Parliament and extended the validity of the voters’ list from three months to six months. The APNU/AFC previously advocated the Continuous Registration followed by a short period of Claims and Objections as the approach to be utilised, to sanitise and have a valid voters’ list for elections.
The voters’ list has remained updated using this manner for over 10 years with no complaints from this cabal. Only recently, its credibility and validity as well as the mechanism for the update, using the continuous approach, were publicly favourably approved by GECOM legal adviser and Mr Lowenfield. It is, therefore, unacceptable for this shifting convenience to accommodate for extending the life of the fallen Government.
With the passing of the constitutional timeline since the passing of the No-Confidence Motion, the APNU/AFC Government ought to be in caretaker mode. The failure of the Cabinet including the President to resign from these functions makes them unconstitutional. They must resign! The Court said that it is up to the Elections Commission to determine a way forward within the confines of the constitutional provisions. Hence, it is imperative that the now imminent Justice Claudette Singh, as Chairman of the GECOM, gives the quality leadership that she possesses, and adheres to the Guyana Constitution and guidelines for the earliest process of Elections.
Further, it is most opportune to remind the GECOM Commissioners that Ms Yolanda Ward, the GECOM Public Relations Officer, along with the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, recently said that GECOM is ready for elections. Further, GECOM Legal Officer, Excellence Dazzell said that GECOM must be in a state of readiness for the holding of “free and fair” elections.
This scrapping of the present House-to-House Registration is necessary as logically and rationally, it would achieve no more than the Continuous Registration and Claims and Objections approach. It is a waste of money and only serves the delaying and dodging from elections by the APNU/AFC Government. This House-to-House activity is not authentic since there is no PPP scrutineer signature on the registration form.
GECOM must follow the Constitution and do what is in the interest of this nation. We must have a period of Claims and Objection and prepare a List of Electors which would allow the President to announce the earliest date for National and Regional Elections.
Vincent Alexander’s and the PNC’s use of inflated figures to misguide that 230,000 persons have been registered, is most ridiculous since there was no verification. How could GECOM commence the training of election officials? Who recruited elections officials? Who decided on the elections materials? Who decided on essential and non-essential elections material?
The procurement of elections material is under serious investigations. The Secretariat spent hundreds of millions of dollars on radios, clippers and non-essential materials that were never used for the purpose for which they were procured. The lawlessness continues and time will tell who will answer.