While the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is formally an independent body, in practice it was not autonomous, says political activist, Dr. David Hinds.
In the past three months, there has been utter division between the government and opposition-appointed commissioners at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) on the entity’s readiness to host elections in this shortest possible time.
Speaking with the Guyana Standard today, Dr. Hinds said, “With everything that took place, GECOM did not display the independence it is supposed to have and I am not going to mince words where that is concerned. You saw the majority of GECOM [Vincent Alexander, Charles Corbin, Desmond Trotman and the Commission’s Chairman, Justice Retired James Patterson] working in collusion with the agenda of the government and the other commissioners [Bibi Shadick, Robeson Benn and Sase Gunraj] working for the PPP.”
He added, “The Chairman who was supposed to be independent came down on the side of the government and this is something we have seen in the past.”
Dr. Hinds said that this should not have happened and was, in the end, unhealthy for the nation.
Prior to the Appellate Court’s ruling yesterday that the opposition’s December 21 no confidence motion required an absolute majority – that is 34 and not 33 votes – there has been a constant back and forth between the PPP and the Ministry of the Presidency on when elections are to be held and on GECOM’s readiness.
The PPP contended that elections have to be held in 90 days but the Government said that a date for such could not be called until GECOM speaks on its state of preparedness. With the votes of the GECOM Chairman and Government appointed Commissioners, it was decided that elections can be held, at the earliest, late November.
The opposition objected to this. It said that upon March 21, the Government would be deemed unconstitutional and its response to such a circumstance would be nationwide protests followed by calls for sanctions and condemnation from the international community. This state of affairs boiled down to low gravy last night after the Appellate Court’s ruling.
The PPP is proceeding to the Caribbean Court of Justice for a review.