The Private Sector Commission (PSC) is again accusing the Guyana Elections Commission’s (GECOM) Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield of illegally operationalising the contentious house-to-house registration. The body this time, claims that the CEO, in justifying the initiation of the process, is deliberately being selective in expressing the advice received from GECOM’s Legal Officer Excellence Dazzell.
The PSC’s retort comes on the heels of a missive disseminated to the media from the office of the CEO yesterday, in which he claims that the registration exercise was operationalised based on the advice GECOM received from its legal officer.
Lowenfield wrote that Dazzell advised that in light of the judgement of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on June 18, 2019, which stated that the process by which the appointment of the former GECOM Chairman was flawed, every act done by Justice (Retired) James Patterson after June 18, 2019, would be void. However, acts done before June 18, 2019, would be valid since those acts would have been done on the premise that the appointment was bona fide.
“Consequent to the foregoing, Mrs Dazzell in her advice also went on to state that since Order 25 of 2019 was signed and gazetted before the Judgment of the CCJ, that is 11 June 2019, it is valid,” Lowenfield wrote.
The PSC is convinced that the CEO is “very convenient and selective” in issuing excerpts extracted from the advice he received from Dazzell.
“But you [Lowenfield] must be aware that it is public knowledge that the very Ms Dazzell advised that house-to-house registration is illegal and should not be proceeded with in the face of the CCJ rulings. That you find it fit to accept part of her advice and disregard other portions thereof, at your whim and caprice, speaks volume,” The PSC through its Chairman, Captain Gerry Gouveia, wrote.
The Caption said that the PSC reiterates its admonition for Lowenfield to not proceed with house-to-house registration.
“Proceeding, you will do so at your own peril and you will be held responsible for the consequences flowing therefrom,” the letter from the PSC concluded.
The house-to-house registration being carried out by GECOM is now marred in controversy following the CCJ’s validation of the no-confidence motion, which has now reduced the David Granger-led regime into a “caretaker” government.
The controversy was further exacerbated after a notice signed by the former Chairman of GECOM, Justice Patterson was published informing the nation that the process of house-to-house will commence from July 20, 2019 (last Saturday). The notice was placed days before the CCJ ruled that Patterson’s appointment was unconstitutional, and therefore flawed.
The coalition government in the meantime has been pushing for the house-to-house method; claiming that it contains the required methodological components to capture accurately, electorate data for a new voters’ list following the expiration of the last one in April of this year.
Their stance is contrary to that of the parliamentary opposition, the Peoples’ Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C). They are contending that both government and GECOM abide by the constitutional provisions which demand – among other things – that fresh elections be held within three months of a successful no-confidence motion. They are nailing home that the house-to-house process will not allow elections to be held within that specified time. This contention has given greater rise to the PPP’s supposition that the process is a ploy formulated by both GECOM and government to stall the holding of general and regional elections.
President David Granger has made it clear that GECOM is a constitutional body, meaning that its operations cannot be dictated by the government. The opposition through its Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, however, thinks otherwise. He believes that the elections body has been compromised and accuses the government of puppeteering the CEO. Lowenfield has yet to respond to these claims.