We must work on a new and reconstituted GECOM

Dear Editor,
GECOM is a constitutional body set up to conduct the affairs of the State as it relates to elections in Guyana. It is the only body mandated to conduct elections, that is, General and Regional Elections, in this country. In that regard, it is accountable by law to hold elections that are clean and flawless; elections which are acceptable by international standards; these are the basic requirements of that body.
It is also an autonomous body, which means that it is free, or should I say, should be free of all political interference as it relates to those elections that come under the scope of its purview. Therefore, it is of tremendous importance that we view the workings of the elections commission, no more no less.
Now, I would like us to focus our attention on the functioning of the elections commission as an agency of transparency, accountability and one that is free from the stinking and debilitating odour of politics. We are all well aware of what transpired during the last election where an entire nation was held hostage by the partisan politics and rigging plans of the PNC-led coalition, it was their intention to bully their way through to an illegal win.
At the heart of that illegal mission was a Commission with a compromised staff of PNC party hacks, coupled with a Chairwoman who was very sympathetic to their cause.
They knowingly were part of a plan hatched to derail an election process to suit their own ends.
That was only stopped by the expert legal team set up by the PPP/C and bruising court proceedings that insisted that the Commission adhere to the dictates of the law. Even the courts had the most difficult of times trying to dislodge the rigging cabal who were well entrenched in their ways, it took firm action from the international community in imposing tough sanctions to the defaulters, only then did they relent. We do not want to live through that trauma again, hence we clamour for change.
We want a change and change will only come when we have a reconstituted and unbiased Commission to look after our affairs. As it stands, the Commission has a core membership of seven persons; three members from the Government side, another three members representing the Opposition and a Chairman. With the advent of the other political parties, there is now room for the inclusion of another member to represent them.
Now, a member representing the smaller parties would show a Commission of eight members – inclusive of the Chairwoman. A Commission of eight members means that we are going to see a playback of the rigging cabal spinning their mindless yarn once again. To counter such an anomaly lifting its ugly head, I would advocate that the eight members now sit together to nominate a neutral ninth member. These nine members can now sit at Commission meetings and plan the way forward.
A new and reconstituted Commission is the first step in the right direction in ensuring that a proper balance exists in the electoral college of the Commission. This will make us feel safe to proceed in an environment where the conduct of free, fair and transparent elections would be the hallmark.

Neil Adams