The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) elections observer mission has recommended the reconfiguration of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to better serve the nation. This was emphasised in a report the team submitted earlier this week on the March General and Regional Elections.
The commission consists of a Chairperson, three government-nominated and three opposition-appointed commissioners. Notably, the other contesting parties do not have plenipotentiaries on the commission, and this has prompted a series of calls for the restructuring of the elections body.
The CARICOM team said that to maintain the present form of GECOM would be “a tragedy for the nation and the people of Guyana”.
The report said that the commissioners are primarily, though not exclusively, dominated by the ethos of positing their respective parties to political victory.
“We therefore urge the immediate rethinking of the structural organisation of GECOM, particularly with respect to the selection of the commissioners,” the team said.
The report was highly critical of the commission; labelling comments made by some commissioners as “imprudent”, thereby adding to the already boisterous political environment.
“What is obvious is that the structural independence of GECOM from the machinery of government is not equated with its impartiality. Indeed, from its beginning, given the intrinsic political distrust and ethnic polarisation in the country, GECOM was never conceptualised as an institution which would exemplify autonomy from partisan political influences. While this model of balanced partisan representation – not unique in the Commonwealth Caribbean – in which the two dominant parties have equal representation and input was born out of a particular historical conjecture, it has served its initial purpose,” the report stated.