Caribbean News Politics

Chief Elections Officer given yet another deadline

The Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), retired justice Claudette Singh has given the Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield a new deadline to submit a report on the disputed March 2 regional and general elections.

Government nominated GECOM Commissioner, Vincent Alexander, told reporters that following Monday’s meeting, the chairman has informed Lowenfield that if he fails to submit the report by 2:30 pm (local time) on Tuesday, she will ask the Deputy Chief Election Officer for the completion and submission of the report.

Alexander told reporters that Singh was very clear in her instructions and that Lowenfield had also indicated that he was clear in his position that the submitted report was in keeping with the laws of Guyana.

Lowenfield last weekend presented a report that put the valid votes counted in the elections as 475,118, giving the ruling coalition, A partnership for National Unity (APNU) 236, 777 and the main opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) 229, 330.

As a result, he has assigned coalition, 32 seats in the 65 member Parliament, 31 to the PPP/C and one seat to three of the smaller opposition parties.

Last Friday, GECOM chairman, retired justice Claudette Singh had infirmed Lowenfield by letter that he should revisit her previous communication of July 9 to prepare his report that would start the process of releasing the official results of the elections

Lowenfield had earlier written to Singh indicating that he needed guidance as to whether the report should be premised on Section 18 of the Election Laws or on Article 177 (2) (b) of the Constitution.

The PPP/C, which has said it won the elections based on the national recount, objected to the latest report by Lowenfield describing it as an “eyepass” while calling for the dismissal of the Chief Election Officer.

Last Wednesday, the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which is the country’s highest court, ruled that the results from the national vote recount that was observed by a team from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) cannot be set aside and must be used to declare the winner of the disputed polls.

“Unless and until an election court decides otherwise, the votes already counted by the recount process as valid votes are incapable of being declared invalid by any person or authority,” the CCj noted.

Meanwhile, the Secretary General of the Organisation of American States (OAS, Luis Almagro, has written to the Chairman of the Permanent Council to convene a meeting to “deal with the situation of the electoral process in Guyana”.

In his letter to Ambassador Luis Fernando Cordero Montoya, the OAS Secretary General said that he was requesting “your support in calling a meeting of the Permanent Council to deal with the situation of the electoral process in Guyana.

“Availing myself of this opportunity to reassure you of my highest consideration.”

Over the last weekend, the hemispheric body the only democratic solution for Guyana at this time is respect for the results of the national recount.

“No other figures – neither those prepared prior to the recount, nor those recently invalidated by the Caribbean Court of Justice, nor any others that may be unilaterally devised by the Chief Elections Officer – can have any place in the final determination of results,” the OAS said.

CMC

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