Claudette Singh, CoI and electoral misconduct

THE Commission of Inquiry (CoI) came to an end for this period, with some of the most earth-shattering revelations, which no doubt offered a behind-the-scenes account of exactly what took place in the March 2, 2020 elections.

The prime witness was none other than the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission, Justice Claudette Singh.
Through her testimony to the CoI, she paved the way for the Guyanese to have a clear insight into her mind, the efforts and the work of certain elected and appointed officials, and how the GECOM machinery was oiled to rig the elections.

Notably, Guyanese may disagree on many accounts of her testimony, but they must agree on the political implications and ramifications of the clarifications offered and statements made on Thursday morning.

Firstly, Chairman Singh appeared, from what she said during her testimony, to have dropped the ball on serious issues.
It could be said that she appeared to be speaking the truth throughout the hearings, but it can also be said that she was nonchalant or casual with how she took her responsibility at that time.
After all, all the signs were there for any rational being to know that something was amiss or going to take place.

For example, she did not seek to enquire fully into serious breaches or question the rationale behind the decisions which occurred at the time when they were happening, like the spreadsheet and bed sheet fiasco, the proposed change in the venue, and the posturing of the GECOM elections staff to name a few.

This is unacceptable from any standpoint even if one wants to hide behind the cloak of independence and impartiality. She should have been more proactive and more into the process as opposed to just keeping meetings with the Commission and official ex-election staff.

The GECOM Chairman presumably appeared to be too distant, detached and delinked from all that was taking place and all the signs which were a sign and a red flag that the March 2020 elections were being rigged and the election plan of action was in jeopardy.
Secondly, maybe she was stressed personally.

At least that is what she had said, but that is neither a reason nor excuse for the communication fiasco which ensued, as attempts were being made to run off with an entire election.
Additionally, the CoI Commissioners struggled to make sense of her worry about her own safety but, in the end, it turned out to be misplaced because to be fair no one seemingly wanted to harm her.

Still, the posturing and manoeuvres of her very own GECOM staff and elections agents were suspect and should have been looked at with a side-eye.
This still does not adequately explain the communication breakdown among the GECOM Chair, the Commission, the Secretariat, and senior elections scrutineers.
She was not in tune with reality and was ‘sleeping’ throughout the time until she thought it safe to re-emerge from her cocoon.

Thirdly, the senior elections officials seemed to be in a plot to snatch the election. They kept critical and vital information from her. She was not in the know.
First, she did not know about former APNU+AFC Government Minister, Karen Cummings, meeting with the diplomats and observers in the very same buildings in which she had exclusive authority.

Secondly, when she knew, she did nothing to stop a government minister and candidate from interfering in the elections and by virtue with election personnel, which include the observers.
Singh could have thrown the minister out or stopped her from meeting, respectfully. Any right-minded Guyanese would have asked how the minister entered GECOM’s tabulation centre and who gave her permission.

It was within her right to haul the CEO at that time for the occurrence of the illegality, but she did nothing.
Fourthly, the only thing Singh said that can be respected was she refused and resisted every attempt of the GECOM officials to get her to leave the Ashmin’s building either voluntarily or involuntarily because of the bomb-scare debacle.

She eventually knew she had to become involved in the process and resist all the attempts to rig and cheat the people of Guyana.
Finally, it appears that the elections were going to be comprised internally and the Chairman with all her legal acumen was not aware at first, but slowly woke up just before GECOM had lost all integrity.

From then on, Singh was not just a constant factor as she had been at the beginning but slowly became an independent factor.
While the PPP/C party said that the APNU+AFC coalition and its agents within GECOM tried to rig the election, some persons did not believe them. Now, any person could have seen the attempted riggers and stealers of the vote.

Singh must take responsibility for not zeroing in on the plot to rig the elections. She assumingly and, from all the evidence, was not a part of the despicable act, but she displayed too much political ignorance, nonaction and causal posturing too.

She did not do her homework carefully about Guyana’s history with elections and PNC turned APNU+AFC, and the mood and situation then. She was not aware of the very knowledgeable and cunning GECOM staff that had oiled the rigging machinery.

They (PNC+APNU+AFC) tried to rig but they forgot that the oldest and largest PPP party had its eyes, ears, and passion in the race. They could never win any election in this country fairly, and the PPP knows it.

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