GECOM has constitutional mandate, duty to fire Lowenfield – PPP
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is not holding back when it comes to its calls concerning Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield, and its latest is for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to act forthwith and dismiss him.
This call comes after Lowenfield, on Saturday, knowingly submitted his final elections report containing fraudulent numbers. The party described Lowenfield’s gross disregard for the Commission as “possibly his final fraudulent act.”
It pointed to Articles 161 (a) and 162(1)(b) of the Constitution which adequately empowers the Commission to take actions to ensure the proper functioning of the body. PPP reminded that Article 162 (1) (b) states that GECOM can issue such instructions and take such actions as appear to it necessary or expedient to ensure impartiality, fairness and compliance with the provision of the Constitution or any Act of Parliament on the part of persons exercising powers or performing duties connected with the electoral process.
Further, Article 161 (a) provides, “the Elections Commission shall be responsible for the efficient functioning of the Secretariat of the Commission, which shall comprise the officers and employees of the Commission, and for the appointment of all the staff to the offices thereof inclusive of all temporary staff, recruited for the purposes of boundary demarcation, registrations of persons and elections and shall have the power to remove and to exercise disciplinary control over such staff.”
Under the term of Secretariat staff, the Chief Elections Officer falls and they can take the necessary action against him for his insubordination.
“Therefore, GECOM has a constitutional mandate and duty to dismiss Lowenfield forthwith, for his fraudulent conduct, his dereliction from duty and his vile insubordination and to immediately appoint another Chief Elections Officer to carry out its directions contained in its various letters to Lowenfield,” the PPP said.
The PPP noted that by using embattled Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo’s numbers as part of the final report, Lowenfield supports the APNU/AFC in its efforts to rig the March 2 elections. The party also accused the pro-government GECOM Commissioners – Vincent Alexander, Charles Corbin and Desmond Trotman, of using their seats at the Commission to aid the rigging of the elections.
They alluded to the fact that the APNU/AFC is attempting to contort the recent Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruling in the case of Irfaan Ali et al v Eslyn David et al, to suit their narrative that the Court disregarded the recount order – Order 60 of 2020.
“Of course, the judgment contains no such pronouncement. In fact, the Court thoroughly examined the Recount Order and endorsed the recount process, making it clear throughout the judgment that it is the results produced by the recount process that must be used by the Chief Elections Officer. The only orders granted by the Caribbean Court of Justice are as follows: (a) Special leave is granted to the Applicants to appeal the decision of the Court of Appeal dated 22 June 2020; the Appeal of the Appellant is allowed; and the said decision of the Court of Appeal was made without jurisdiction, is invalid and of no effect,” the PPP reminded.
As a consequence of the invalidation of the Appeal Court’s ruling, the CCJ also declared that the report of the Chief Elections Officer of June 23, 2020, is of no effect.
Hitting out at the Commissioners, the PPP said that “only a demented mind can interpret the Caribbean Court of Justice’s ruling as invalidating the National Recount process.”
PPP added that they are in receipt of information which suggests that the APNU/AFC is “Judge shopping” in their efforts to get some form of judicial assistance to execute their illegal, fraudulent design to alter the will of the electorate. It reminded that no court can direct the Commission on how to perform its functions nor usurp the functions of the Commission, once the Commission acts intra vires its constitutional mandate.
The party called upon the Judiciary not to allow its processes to be abused and manipulated to perpetrate a fraud upon the Guyanese electorate.