Tue | Jan 26, 2021

No reason for Guyana Elections Commission CEO to resign says Granger

Published:Sunday | June 14, 2020 | 12:00 AMCMC
President of Guyana, David Granger.

(CMC): Guyana's President David Granger says there is no reason for the Keith Lowenfield , the chief executive officer of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to resign, as uncertainty continues over the outcome of the March 2 elections.

Granger made the comment while speaking to reporters today.

“I think under the circumstances he did what he was empowered to do under the law, what he is capable to do with the resources.” Granger explained, pointing out that Lowenfield is not in control of the courts and could not accelerate that process.

He recounted writing to the then chairperson of GECOM (Retired) Justice James Patterson, calling him to hold the elections at the earliest credible time.

“These have been the real factors that have delayed the elections and I believe that when Justice Singh got there in July 2019, she did what was feasible to have elections in the earliest possible time… Because of the groundwork which had been laid by Mr Lowenfield and the other officials in the election commission, in the secretariat we were able to have the elections on March 2.,” Granger added.

He reiterated that the March 2 general and regional elections were possible because of Lowenfield and GECOM staff.

“Reminding that it was agreed by all parties that March 2 was the earliest possible date to hold the elections the president made clear that Mr Lowenfield is not to be blamed for that, I wouldn't’t ask for his resignation and I wouldn't’t even expect him to offer it,” Granger said.

The president told reporters that  he thought  Lowenfield did very well under the circumstances.

Coalition condemns remarks

Meanwhile, the coalition, A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) says it strongly condemns the “reckless remarks” made by the main  opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP), following the submission of a report by Lowenfield to GECOM.

“It is reprehensible and appalling that the PPP irresponsibly continues its campaign to malign  Lowenfield who has acted within the ambit of the law, as he is required to do, and is in strict compliance with the gazetted order,” APNU+AFC said in a press release today.

Acting in accordance with the stage two of the order, Lowenfield, yesterday, presented his detailed report on the first stage of the recount process to GECOM’s chairman, (Retired) Justice Claudette Singh.

This now gives way for stage three where the seven-member commission will deliberate on the findings.

The CEO’s report and other submissions have exposed what the APNU+AFC coalition has deemed a clear attempt at electoral fraud.

According to the coalition’s summary of irregularities, there are close to 8,000 instances of fraud affecting 1,222 of the 2,339 ballot boxes from the March 2 general and regional elections. The coalition also says a total of 257, 173 votes were affected.

The coalition’s statement also emphasised the fact that the Representation of the People Act clearly outlines how the election results should be ascertained and Article 96 of the Constitution states that the CEO is authorised to “calculate the total valid votes of electors cast and thereupon ascertain the results”.

"This, therefore, means to discover with certainty as through examination or experimentation. This is what was done. This was, the very purpose of the recount process,” the coalition said.

APNU+AFC believe that the importance of the credibility of the electoral process is paramount.

The coalition called Guyanese to remain patient and allow the recount process to continue uninterrupted.

Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us @onlinefeedback@gleanerjm.com or editors@gleanerjm.com.