– Lowenfield proceeded on accumulated leave; to return on Jan 30, 2021
Chief Elections Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Keith Lowenfield, who is facing the courts on a number of electoral fraud charges, is currently on his accumulated annual leave.
This was clarified by Public Relations Officer of GECOM Yolanda Ward confirmed that the senior official has been on leave since September 7. She explained that the CEO had applied for the time off work and it was granted.
In a subsequent statement from GECOM, it was explained that the CEO applied on September 1 for his accumulative 2016 – 2019 annual leave totaling 146 days. The leave will conclude on January 30. In the meantime, Deputy CEO Roxanne Myers, who is also before the courts on electoral fraud charges, is performing his duties.
Following the controversial March 2 General and Regional elections and the five-month-long process that followed it, Lowenfield and a number of other high-ranking GECOM officials were investigated by the police and charged for misconduct in public office and forgery. In addition to Lowenfield and Myers, embattled Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo is also before the courts on electoral fraud charges.
Lowenfield had presented a final report to GECOM Chairperson, retired Justice Claudette Singh, that unceremoniously dumped over 115,000 votes, when a 33-day national recount had certified those votes as valid.
In Lowenfield’s report, the CEO had claimed that the a Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (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) pellucidly show that the PPP/C won with 233,336 votes while the APNU/AFC garnered 217,920.
Lowenfield’s attempt to alter the results of the results and deny the will of the people comes on the heels of two previous attempts he made to give legitimacy to the fraudulent declarations of Mingo.
Mingo, during the tabulation of votes following the March 2 elections, used figures which were heavily inflated in favour of the APNU/AFC coalition – vastly differing from the official numbers recorded on the Statements of Poll (SoPs).
On March 5, Mingo declared fraudulent results for District Four, prompting the PPP/C to move to the courts which scrapped those results and ordered that the process be done through the legally prescribed procedure. When the process was resumed, Mingo still proceeded to use concocted numbers, and he eventually made a second fraudulent declaration on March 13.
Mingo had declared that the APNU/AFC won 136,057 votes for District Four, while the PPP/C won 77,231. But the certified recount process clearly shows that for Region Four, the APNU/AFC won 116,941 votes while PPP/C won 80,920.
While Lowenfield is expected to return to work next year, there have been calls from several quarters for GECOM officials who have been implicated in electoral fraud to not be allowed back on the job. It was only a few days ago that the Private Sector Commission (PSC) made such a call.
In a statement on Saturday, the PSC pointed out to the importance of GECOM cleaning house of all its compromised staff and preparing to hold Local Government Elections (LGE) next year when they are constitutionally due.