The ten motions supported by the Opposition-nominated Commissioners during a Guyana Election Commission (GECOM) meeting, last Friday, were prudent and necessary, yet the Chair, Justice (retired) Claudette Singh decided to reject most of the motions that would have greatly accelerated the obligations of the Commission to deliver election results. This point was made today by Change Guyana (CG) Executive Member, Nigel Hinds.
The former CG Prime Ministerial Candidate pointed to three of the ten motions that were rejected by Singh. He said that these non-approvals highlight how “complicit or compromised the Madam Chairperson has been throughout the March 2, 2020, Post-Election Period of Crisis”.
He referenced the rejected motion which calls for the originals of all Statements of Poll (SOPs) for District 4 received by the Chief Election Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, to be provided to the Commissioners for examination.
In justifying her decision to reject the motion, Justice Singh, as reported by the state-owned Guyana Chronicle, explained that GECOM, having agreed to proceed with a National Recount on April 3, 2020 cannot backpedal on its decision, noting that the production of the SOPs, at this stage, will be of little value to the process.
“I committed to a recount. I made a commitment to the Court to have a recount; and if you have the SOPs that will not resolve the problem,” the GECOM Chair said.
But Hinds is arguing that Singh is ignoring the “bird in her hand represented by the Region 4 SOPs and instead seeks to use a convoluted system led by several discredited GECOM individuals, who are bent on denying the democratic will of the Guyanese people.”
“The provision of the GECOM SOPs for Region 4, will swiftly bring an end to the rigging game; while a national recount will open the Pandora boxes and provide open season for more fake ailments, excessive security barriers, extreme requirements to sanitize, disinfect and fumigate, unnecessary and false coronavirus test results, disappearing acts, miscounting, more rigging, court hearings, violence, looting, extend the presence of an illegitimate government, stifle aid to Guyana and worsen the impact of COVID-19 in Guyana,” he said.
Hinds, in referencing a Stabroek News article published on March 12, 2020, said that the European Union (EU) Election Observation Mission requested from GECOM the Statements of Poll that were used for the declaration of results for Region 4.
The letter signed by EU Deputy Chief Observer, Alexander Matus, said that the request was being made pursuant to Section 4 (1) and (3) of the General Elections (Observers) Act, as well as section 6,7, 8 and 9 of the Administrative Arrangement between the Delegation of the European Union in Guyana and GECOM.
Guyana’s Private Sector Commission made a similar request for Statements of Poll, after the EU request.
Both requests were made on solid legal grounds, Hinds said, yet GECOM has failed to respond in both instances to the soliciting parties, as they have failed in many other instances to comply with their legal obligations.
“The use of the Statements of Poll is an essential requirement (sine qua non) under the Representation of the People Act, to validate the adding and tabulation process for Region 4. Instead of using these most needed GECOM Statements of Poll to quickly allow for a democratic transition, the constitutionally empowered Justice Singh has denied access to the stakeholders by seeming to bury her head in the sand to find an interminable series of messy solutions, all combined together in an order for gazetting that will implode,” Hinds said.
Singh also rejected the motion seeking that the declaration of the election results of Electoral District number four (4) by Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo, made on the 13th day of March 2020, and the Consequential Report prepared and submitted to the Commission by the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, be set aside, revoked, annulled and rescinded by the Guyana Elections Commission.
She also voted against the motion to livestream the recount process, as well as the motion requesting that the process be completed in 14 days.