No further delay in LJP’s request for Councillor change – GECOM
The Guyana Elections Commission has clarified that there is no delay in the process concerning the Liberty and Justice Party’s (LJP) request to change its Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) Councillor.
Amid media reports suggesting this conclusion, the Commission on Tuesday stated that the party initially wrote to the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) in September 2020 indicating that due to COVID-19 restrictions, persons in the region were unable to attend RDC meetings and as a consequence, the party would have selected a named alternate candidate from its Region Eight List of Candidates.
In this regard, the Representative of the List, John Flores, was contacted via telephone and was advised that the law does not make provision for the appointment of alternate Councillors and therefore a revised letter must be submitted clearly stating the party’s request to have the gazetted Councillor replaced.
Subsequently, an email was sent by the Leader of the LJP, Lenox Shuman in November 2020 informing him that the party had been advised by its counsel that there is no such guidance in electoral laws and insisted that the previous correspondence stands.
GECOM contended that the matter was discussed extensively at the level of the Commission and it was agreed that the LJP must submit proper documentation requesting a change of the Councillor and provide a justification for its request.
“That information was communicated to Flores and GECOM was awaiting the submission before it acts. The correct letter as requested was delivered to GECOM on 26th January, 2021. The agency will now take all the necessary steps to effect the change as it is the usual protocol,” the Commission said in a statement.
Last week, the LJP expressed in the media that their first representative, Jimmy James was no longer willing to serve in the capacity as an LJP representative, which prompted these actions. Contained on the party’s initial regional candidate list were James as primary and Claris Francisco for District Eight.
Against the COVID-19 backdrop and cognisant of the effects of the disease on the healthiest of individuals, the LJP submitted a change of candidate request to GECOM, replacing James with Francisco. The party contended that until present, all attempts to address the issue were rebutted by Deputy Chief Elections Officer, Roxanne Myers.
It added, “Mr James, who has the respect of the LJP’s executive, no longer enjoys the confidence of the LJP, and, by his own admission, is not aligned to the LJP, is no longer willing to serve in the capacity as an LJP representative, and is aligned to the PNC.”