Desmond Trotman, Gerry Gouveia settle differences before ERC

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Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) member, Desmond Trotman

WITH the assistance of the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC), Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Captain Gerald Gouveia and Commissioner of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Desmond Trotman, have come to an amicable resolution on a previous dispute.

In a letter to the media on Wednesday, the ERC hailed the arrival at a peaceful settlement as proof that the Commission “has the mechanisms and capability of working for the restoring of harmony and peace where discord and disagreement formerly existed”.
The disagreement stemmed from complaints by Gouveia to the ERC in regards to a letter written by Trotman to Gouveia in his capacity as PSC Chair wherein Gouveia was compared to having the traits associated with the plantocracy.

Initially, in a letter in July 2019, Gouveia had called on GECOM’s Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, to “immediately suspend” the ongoing house-to-house registration exercise” deeming it as “unlawful”.

Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Captain Gerald Gouveia

Some days later, Trotman had responded stating that Gouveia’s position on the current political situation was laced with “inaccuracies” and an “obsession” with ousting the current Administration. It was therein that he made the said comments which offended Gouveia.
Following Gouveia’s complaint to the Commission, a special Sub-Committee was appointed on November 8, 2019, to investigate the said complaints and this was spearheaded by Retired Justice Stanley Moore, as Chairman of the Sub-Committee.

On Wednesday, in a public statement, Trotman withdrew his attributions to Gouveia noting that they were mistaken and that he hadn’t knowledge, at the time of the writing, that Lowenfield had already responded to Gouveia. “Unfortunately, in my response, I erred in identifying Gouveia’s ancestry as that of the Plantocracy and the slave owning-class and therefore mistakenly attributed their traits to him,” Trotman stated.

“In these unhappy circumstances, I accept that in view of Mr. Lowenfield’s response to Mr. Gouveia, of which I was unaware at the time, there was no need for a response from me, inclusive of the mistakenly attributed references to him and his forebears, which references offended him, as if they were the Massa and all that is attributable to the Massas. I therefore unreservedly withdraw all such attributions.”

In response, Gouveia accepted the withdrawal and expressed that he is confident that the two will be able to put the matter behind them.

He assured the public that he personally holds Lowenfield in the highest regard, that the views presented in his original letter were shared by “several members of the PSC” and that Lowenfield’s response to him was “adequate”. “I feel confident that both Mr. Trotman and I will now put this episode behind us and continue to play our respective roles in advancing the future development of our beloved Guyana in an atmosphere of ethnic harmony and cohesion,” he said in a public statement.