Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chairperson, Claudette Singh’s silence into the prosecution of her subordinates signals her complicity in an alleged plot by the governing People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C)’s to “dismantle” the elections body. At least this is what Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon is positing.
His claim comes as several GECOM staffers are before the courts for matters including alleged attempts at illegally manipulating the outcome of the March General and Regional Elections.
“It is no wonder that the Chairman of the Elections Commission has not raised her voice in concern for the welfare of these officers who worked with her. The only conclusion that can be derived is that the Chairman is at worst complicit and at best a part of the PPP’s plot to dismantle the current GECOM. Madame Chairman you are leaving a tattered legacy and should resign before it gets worse,” Harmon said during a press conference this morning.
But Singh in a response to Opposition Commissioner, Desmond Trotman over statements he made about her facilitating persecution of staffers said, “As Chairperson of GECOM and a former Police Legal Advisor, I do not have the authority to interfere into the work of the Guyana Police Force nor any other Statutory Body and will always ensure that the best interest of the members of staff of GECOM are protected.”
Singh is yet to respond specifically to Harmon’s comments. Efforts made by the Guyana Standard to contact her have proven futile.
Harmon listed the officers who have been arrested since August 2, 2020 when the PPP/C took office. These are: Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield; Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO), Roxanne Myers; Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo; Duarte Hetsberger; Michelle Miller; Information Technology (IT) Officer, Enrique Livan; Shefern February; Assistant Registration Officer, Carolyn Duncan; and Denise Cummings.
The Opposition Leader was quick to point out that these officers are of one ethnicity, and based on that observation, concluded that there is “victimisation” of Afro-Guyanese staff members of GECOM.
“No other person working in the Commission of any other ethnicity has been treated this way. In addition to this unconstitutional bullyism is the more insidious campaign by the PPP to deprive black communities of economic power- take for example the money they take out of these poor communities by way of punitive bail,” he said.
He added: “This represents a total of $1.8million in bail which has been removed from the black community. It is also a systematic economic on black people and the black community of Guyana.”
He noted that while these officers have been arrested, no attempt has been made to take into custody those Presiding Officers and other GECOM officers responsible for the poll books, ballot papers and other polling documents that were discovered missing during the vote recount process.