Lowenfield, Myers, Mingo slapped with more electoral fraud charges
– released on bail; to make further court appearance next month
Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield, his Deputy Roxanne Myers, and Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo have all been slapped with more charges in relation to their alleged attempts to rig the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections.
The trio was each released on $100,000 bail when they appeared before Magistrate Sherdel Isaacs-Marcus at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts on Tuesday. They were not required to plead to the charge and are expected to return to court on July 14.
The charges alleged that between March 2 and August 2, 2020, at Georgetown, they conspired with each other and with Volda Lawrence, Carol Smith-Joseph, and others to defraud the electors of Guyana by declaring a false account of votes for the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections.
Lowenfield is already before the court on three counts of misconduct in public office, and three counts of forgery. Myers is before the court on two counts of misconduct in public office while Mingo was charged with four counts of misconduct in public office. Meanwhile, Lawrence and Opposition activist, Carol Joseph are also before the court on electoral fraud charges.
In light of these charges, Government-nominated Commissioners at GECOM had tabled three motions calling for the dismissal of the trio. While no decision has been made on the motions, GECOM last week unanimously decided to send Lowenfield, Myers and Mingo on their annual leave.
The motions were tabled by the Government-aligned Commissioners Gunraj, Shadick and Narayan – all lawyers – before the GECOM Chair. The motion to dismiss Lowenfield from his substantive post as CEO was tabled by Gunraj and Shadick and listed 20 grounds on which he should be dismissed.
The motion explained that the CEO, in spite of protests from contesting parties other than the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC), deliberately chose to neglect the complaints of discrepancies in relation to Mingo’s numbers.
In the case of Myers, that motion was submitted in the names of Shadick and Narayan. They argued that she aided Lowenfield in the Commission of all his infractions and even went out of her way to facilitate a meeting in a GECOM facility by then Foreign Affairs Minister Karen Cummings where she threatened to revoke the accreditation of international observers.
Myers’ purported order to have the Guyana Police Force remove Commissioner Gunraj and political party representatives from the GECOM Command Centre during the tabulation of the Statements of Poll (SoPs) is also listed as one of the reasons she should be dismissed from her substantive post as DCEO.
The grounds for Mingo’s dismissal surround his tabulation of the SoPs in which he manufactured numbers to reflect a win by the APNU/AFC. It also concerns his conduct and defiance of the court orders mandating that he follow the outlined statutory process to acquire his final tally of the SoPs.
Justice Singh had written to both Lowenfield and Myers asking them to provide, in writing, responses to the motion indicating why they should not be dismissed from their substantive posts. Those responses were received and the officers were all sent on leave last week.
The decision to send the trio home on paid annual vacation leave was a unanimous one that had the full agreement of the Chairperson and all six Commissioners – Gunraj, Shadick and Narayan on the Government side, Vincent Alexander, Charles Corbin and Desmond Trotman from the Opposition.
However, no decision has been made on the motions. GECOM Chair, Retired Justice Claudette Singh is expected to make a decision on the way forward regarding the motions.