The Citizenship Initiative (TCI) and the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) are calling on the Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Justice (Retired) Claudette Singh to take disciplinary action against the Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, should he fail to submit his final report on the March General and Regional Elections.
Failure by the CEO to submit the report can be chalked up to insubordination, the TCI said.
The TCI in a statement tonight said, “We note with concern however, that it now appears that the Chief Election Officer is unsure of how to comply with clear directives received from the head of the Commission. This position has forced The Chair to now reissue her request a third time. TCI is of the opinion, that with previous elections experience under his belt, the CEO is more than aware of how his job should be done. In light of this background, the CEO’s action can possibly be construed as insubordinate action against Madame Chair”.
The party said that Guyana’s constitution in article 161A (1) gives the Elections Commission responsibility for the efficient functioning of the Secretariat, and appointment of its officers. The Commission therefore has the power to remove and to exercise disciplinary control over such staff. Section 18 of the Election Laws Act No 15 of 2000 stipulates that the CEO is subject to the direction and control of the Commission.
TCI proposes that should CEO Lowenfield appear to continue to be reluctant or perhaps even appear unable to efficiently complete his duties as per deadline issued, that the GECOM Chairperson must exercise disciplinary control as the case may warrant.
“TCI respectfully requests this action from the Commission,for efficient functioning of the Secretariat and so that its work may be completed in a timely manner” the party said.
The LJP, through its Presidential Candidate Lennox Shuman, said that despite clear and definitive instructions from Singh, Lowenfield requested clarity in what could only be described as a “disingenuous attempt to disobey the instructions aforesaid”.
Shuman was quick to point out the readiness by Lowenfield in the preparation of a similar report after the Court of Appeal’s ruling, in which he disenfranchised in excess of 115,000 legitimate voters. The same readiness is not being exhibited now by the CEO, Shuman noted. This, he added, must be cause for excessive concern to the nation.
The LJP Leader is calling on the Chair and the GECOM commissioners to enure strict compliance by Lowenfield, and in the absence thereof, to take stern disciplinary actions, up to and including his removal from office.
Lowenfield has up to 11am today to submit his report for the Commission’s perusal. Results are expected to be announced subsequently.
It has been a little over four months since the electorate took to the polls.