Lowenfield is not a public officer – PPP/C criminal complaint malicious
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Dear Editor
The charade must stop. The will of the Guyanese people must prevail. The notion of ‘one man, one vote’ must prevail. Only valid votes can be counted as ordered by the Court of Appeal. Disgraceful efforts by the PPP/C to threaten public servants either by informal coercion (threats of sanctions) or malicious prosecution must be rejected.

The attempt by the PPP/C to abuse the good office of the Commissioner of Police by laying a malicious complaint before that office must be met with contempt. I refer to the false criminal complaint against GECOM’s CEO, Mr. Keith Lowenfield, for misconduct in public office.  Mr. Lowenfield is an employee of GECOM; enjoying a private contractual relationship with that entity. The staff of GECOM do not contribute to the Government Pension Fund; neither do they provide a public service (goods). Unlike those working in the ministries, teachers and policemen, GECOM employees are not civil servants. They are much like the staff of GRA, GPHC, Guyana Civil Aviation and the CJIA.

The complaint is therefore unmeritorious, unattractive and must have been actuated by nothing less than malice and a vexatious spirit. I come to this conclusion simply because Mr. Keith Lowenfield is not a public officer; despite he is performing a public duty. The question as to who is a public officer or who holds public office was answered since 1973 by Chancellor of Judiciary,  Edward Victor Luckhoo, in the matter of an application for a Writ of Certiorari by Gordon Yaw v. V.J. Correia (C.A. 12/1973). The Court of Appeal noted then that there must be an office held by a person appointed by or on behalf of the Public Service Commission, to serve the State, for an emolument. This is the interpretation of article 232 of our Constitution.

Further, appointments to the Public Service of Guyana are done pursuant to article 201(1) of the Constitution of Guyana and the Public Service Rules, 1987/1998 (as amended). Common sense will tell you that Mr. Lowenfield was not appointed by the Public Service Commission. Rather, he is an employee of GECOM – an independent and absolutely autonomous Constitutional body. Therefore, the complaint of misconduct in public office is malicious and must die an early death at the desk of the Secretary to the Commissioner of Police.

The question as to who is a public officer was also answered by former Chancellor, Carl Singh, in the case of Chue and Hyman v Attorney General of Guyana (unreported, H.C.A. No. 6 of 1998). Justice Royston Nelson of the CCJ later approved Justice Singh’s reasoning in Griffith (Brent) v Guyana Revenue Authority (2006) 69 WIR 320, where he concluded that Griffith was not a public officer of the GRA/Inland Revenue by virtue of the status of the Revenue Authority and its employees not providing a civil service but one owed to the Government of Guyana. Further, Chancellor Desiree Bernard, sitting alongside former Chancellor Carl Singh and Justice Nandram Kissoon in the outstanding Case of Sita Ramlall (Registrar of the High Court) v Cheryl Scotland and Others, concluded that public officers are persons employed by the Public Service Commission or someone delegated with powers to employ on behalf of the commission. GECOM was never one such body.  Moreover, the PPP/C’s private charges against Mr. Lowenfield relates to execution of his function as part of the work of GECOM. Under Article 226 (7) of the Constitution, no court can inquire into the work of GECOM.

The circus must end, and the will of the Guyanese people must be recognised fully on the basis of ‘one man, one vote’ and the tabulation of valid votes.

Regards,
Richard Millington
Attorney-at-Law
Board Member
Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID)

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