Home Letters GECOM press release does not reflect a consensus, unanimity of Commission
The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), which up to recently was media-shy, has seemingly assumed a new disposition to the media, and has taken to issuing press releases. That is a welcome development. One is left to wonder if this new approach has been influenced by the presence of a new face on the Commission.
However, of greater concern are the falsehoods and partisan nature of the recent releases emanating from GECOM. Notably, they do not reflect a consensus or unanimity of the Commission, as I will demonstrate.
Quite recently, I had to draw attention to the erroneous nature of a GECOM release and a release from the three PPP/C-appointed commissioners, both of which purported that I had accused the Chairperson of taking a decision not to extend the period for Claims when, in fact, a publisher of my letter attributed a headline to the letter that did not reflect its contents. The editors normally coin the headlines/titles for letters to the editor, yet GECOM and the three commissioners erroneously — out of carelessness or propagandistic malintent – attributed the headline to me, and dwelt on what was in the headline, while ignoring the content of my letter, which did not accuse the Chairperson of the purported decision not to extend the period for Claims.
One such occurrence may be forgiven as an error or oversight. However, any recurrence can only be construed as intentional and unethical, at least. This is undoubtedly the case with GECOM’s most recent press release, which sought to convey the impression that the Opposition-appointed commissioners were insisting that GECOM conduct an investigation into electoral malfeasance, in defiance of the Chairperson’s “ruling” that such investigations are the sole purview of the High Court.
The first observation to be made in that regard is that the Court does not investigate, it adjudicates; hence an investigation does necessarily not fly in the face of the constitutional provisions in relation to the jurisdiction of the High Court.
However, even if we assume that I am wrong in my stated contention, that does not relieve GECOM and the PPP/C- appointed commissioners of their notoriety.
The fact of the matter is that the call of the Opposition-appointed commissioners is for a review of GECOM’s operations to determine whether there are in its system discernible weaknesses that need to be addressed if GECOM is to improve on its system in pursuit of the constitutional requirement for GECOM to “ensure impartiality, fairness and compliance” in the conduct of elections.
It’s grossly misleading for GECOM to equate the call by the Opposition-appointed commissioners for: (1) GECOM to conduct an independent review to gain better understanding of the bases for allegations and occurrences, and to consider if there are existing or potential weaknesses in the processes employed by GECOM for the conduct of elections; that (2)“recommendations be sought in an effort to improve on the methods employed in the electoral system, and to remove the bases for the possible recurrence of the maladies, procedural or otherwise, that occurred or may occur under the current electoral process”, to a “call for GECOM to conduct internal investigations into allegations of electoral fraud that were reported to have occurred during the 2nd March, 2020 General and Regional Elections.” (author’s emphasis)
GECOM is not only misleading the public on what is being called for by the Opposition-appointed commissioners, but is guilty of dereliction insofar as it is unprepared to review/ evaluate its own performance as a basis for enhancing its systems and its operations.
GECOM has embarked upon a campaign that is designed to justify its intentional omissions, such as a review of its operations and the introduction of biometric (finger-print) identification at the places of poll.