GECOM must stop ‘pussy-footing’ and hold Local Government Elections!
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on google
Share on whatsapp

Dear Editor,
A SENSE of uneasiness and uncertainty still prevails concerning approaches by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to deliver on its constitutional mandate. This fact and its consequential related perceptions, ought to be the driver for strong, speedy corrective and remedial actions.

Please permit me to highlight a few areas informing a lingering nationwide concern that emanate from the Commission’s seemingly self-convinced attempts to convey that ‘slow pace’ implies the conduct of an acceptable and transparent process. Rather, the focus of the principals seems distorted, and the lack of, or delayed constitutional delivery is being more and more affected by these eroding of confidence internal processes. The holding of Local Government Elections (LGEs) which is now way beyond the statutory period is just one of the critically affected areas.

This created ‘pussy-footing’ syndrome dilemma must be countered, given the embarrassing March to June 2020 elections results fiasco. With the abundance of evidence against the former CEO Keith Lowenfield-led cabal that challenged and frustrated the authority of the Commission, one would have thought that GECOM, having the legal authority, would have immediately moved to have forensic examinations of the undercurrents and contaminants. All of the persons within the close clutches of the former CEO should be keenly scrutinised.

It is indeed most disgusting to read and listen about the former controversial GECOM Secretariat employee Duarte Hetsberger’s attempts to get re-employed at the institution. There should be no hesitation for the Commission to call in the police to do their work under Section 19 of the Cybercrime Act. There must be no consideration to reverse his termination as he allegedly played a central role in the big cabal that had their knees on this nations ‘neck’ for five long months.

A full investigation must be done concerning the clean sweep of the data from several GECOM computers, and a thorough investigation conducted of all the internal that took place in preparation for the 2020 National and Regional Elections. Given the absence of an elections report from the CEO, the commission and new CEO should carefully review the activities that took place over the five months after the elections including the massive spending and illegal activities that went on during the five months after March 2, 2020.

It is essential for GECOM to swiftly ensure it has onboard, a cadre of transparently selected professionals to advance its mandate. The advertising process for filling vacancies created by recent firings of the Chief Elections Officers (CEO) and others facing fraudulent electoral charges, commenced in October 2021. Publications of those shortlisted for final interviews and potential selection present the opportunity for exposure if there are known issues. Notably, some rogue elements have been able to get past the initial screening process.

GECOM facilitation of the next LGEs is way overdue, and this is not for want of the PPP/C’s urging and support. The government ensured that sufficient funding was placed in the 2021 Budget for the holding of these elections. These elections were not held as a consequence of GECOM’s inability to do so, due to the absence of a CEO and other key secretariat personnel. Notably, the PNC agents who have mastered the art of postponing LGEs, are hard at work in trying to ensure further delays.

While former President David Granger kept his promise and held the LGE’s in 2016 and 2018, the PNC now back in opposition, has moved to reinforce their old characteristic ways. Hence, the PPP/C must not step back, but demand that GECOM put all systems in place and hold LGE’s as early as possible. Questions now being advanced by the PNC acolytes regarding a new voters list must be rubbished as GECOM has legally supported procedures to update the Register of Registrants using the MERLIN database in sync with the General Registration Office.

This updated register will then be followed by a period of Continuous Registration and then by a short period of claims and objections. This in keeping with the usually established precedence, will serve to establish a preliminary list of voters; effectively setting the stage for the holding of LGEs. Consequently, the PPP/C Government must never allow any procrastination and delaying of LGEs as it is designed to realise significant parallel community development, in synchrony with the national programme. On the contrary, it is the opposition’s proven aim to disrupt the synergies from such programmes and to render our citizens dissatisfied.

Chairperson of GECOM, Justice Claudette Singh, must recognise that she will have to assert herself and be more decisive. This is given that the APNU/PNC+AFC Commissioners are bent on using delaying tactics and always try to put spokes in the smooth path of development. The several vacancies for key senior positions within the Election Secretariat must be carefully and thoroughly discussed and the best persons must be employed. There must be no place for ‘rogue’ elements!

The timeline for the LGEs must be set now! As such, Madam Claudette Singh must put immediately on the agenda the pertinent issues, and carefully let the CEO and his staff provide the Commission the earliest appropriate period and schedules, for the holding of LGEs. The Commission must ensure that the pussy-footing stops now, allowing the catalysation of community development initiatives.

While the PPP/C Government is doing an excellent job at the national level, citizens at the local or ground level must be fully prepared for the further development of the country. Several areas where dynamic community leadership is required are suffering from attrition due to unavoidable circumstances. Further, several of the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils have become weak and urgently need to be resuscitated through these elections. Hence, with new and urgent LGEs, many vacancies will be filled, and better persons will be in positions to develop the communities.
Yours sincerely,
Neil Kumar

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on google
Google+
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on google
Share on whatsapp
Scroll to Top
All our printed editions are available online
emblem3
Subscribe to the Guyana Chronicle.
Sign up to receive news and updates.
We respect your privacy.