Justice Claudette Singh Ret’d, the new Chairman of GECOM, who took over the reins of that troubled entity on July 29, 2019, is seemingly heading for dangerous waters. Facing the urgent task of executing General Elections in a tight timeframe, Justice Singh has been taking things nice and slow. In any other circumstance, I would be the first to say let’s give the new Chairman time to get her feet wet. However, with each passing day it means the Constitution is being violated further.
Recall that elections were constitutionally due in March 2019 following the successful passage of the NCM on December 21, 2018, by the Opposition. Recall also that the Govt had brought spurious legal challenges grounded in nonsensical mathematics, compliments Nigel Hughes, and were seemingly aided by the Appeal Court and the CCJ, the latter which proved timid, to delay the constitutionally-bound elections.
Even an ordinary person would have grasped the dire situation at GECOM. With two Government Commissioners seeking to delay the elections and two Opposition-led Commissioners seeking to expedite the elections in accordance with the Constitution, even a less intelligent person would have known the situation requires swift and decisive action.
Instead, the new Chair has been slothful and tentative and her protracted decision to use data from the obviously flawed HtH is one which actually creates more problems and one which will cause even more delays. Is it a mere coincidence that so far everything the Chairman has done is in sync with the Government’s efforts to delay and frustrate free and fair elections being held in Guyana?
Looking back, I think Jagdeo, Leader of the Opposition, was reasonable in his thinking to nominate Justice Singh, who has been historically rigid and upright in her application of the law, being dubbed “Iron Lady” and all, and expected not only the same attitude but swift and complete adherence to the rule of law and Constitution. Moreover, he must have reasoned that a Judge of her calibre would understand the need within our crime ravaged society and one that has seen decades of rigged elections under the PNC to uphold the law and to be seen doing so.
Sadly, this has not been the case thus far and as it stands more than a month following her appointment, we are nowhere closer to knowing when elections will be held. The Iron Lady is dangerously on the brink of joining the dubious duo of Patterson and Bollers, ex-Judges who have violated the Constitution and rule of law in Guyana while at the helm of GECOM.