The PPP administration said it is intent on having the most ethical individuals hired to serve in the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall SC said during a recent interview on the Guyana Dialogue YouTube platform that the help of international partners would be sought to ensure “rogue elements” do not slip through the cracks of future hiring processes.
Nandlall said, “Experience would have taught us that you can have the most perfect system. But if you have bandits, and if you have dishonest people and miscreants manning the system, then perversity is inevitable. As such, we have to also assiduously work to ensure that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) employs objective, transparent practices and procedures in hiring people.”
The Attorney General said the calibre of people the Commission hires will have a direct impact on the quality of elections produced.
The AG said the foregoing initiative is imperative since the government must show that it has learnt from the mistakes of the 2020 General and Regional Elections.
Several persons are currently before the court for allegedly conspiring to defraud electors of Guyana by declaring a false account of vote for the 2020 elections.
Those charged include Chair of the People’s National Congress (PNC), Volda Lawrence; and former Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Region Four Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo.
The others are A Partnership for National Unity, Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) activist, Carol Smith-Joseph; GECOM’s Information Technology Officer, Enrique Livan and GECOM Clerks, Michelle Miller, Sheffern February and Denise Bab-Cummings.
The State’s team in the matter is being led by Attorney-at-Law Darshan Ramdhani, QC and includes Glenn Hanoman, Mark Conway, Ganesh Hira, Arudranauth Gossai, and George Thomas.
The matter is expected to be heard again on July 15, 2022.
Assisting the government with its latest initiative for GECOM will be the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP), the United Nations, and organizations of similar ilk.
Nandlall further noted that the government intends to ensure the staff of GECOM reflects the electorate too.
The Senior Counsel said this is critical. Whether one wants to admit it or not, Nandlall contended that ethnicity is a factor in Guyana’s electoral politics. And therefore, the staff of GECOM must mirror the population makeup as far as possible.
As regards changes in the structure of the GECOM organization, Nandlall said this would not occur in the current electoral process since the composition of the Commission is a matter for the Constitution.
He said when the constitutional reform process begins, it is the people of Guyana that will drive this process.
“…I have already put the government’s proposal forward and it is in our manifesto. It’s 50% government and parliamentary opposition on the one hand and 50 percent civil society organizations on the other hand with a chairman who is to be appointed by the president,” expressed the AG.
The Legal Affairs Minister noted too that the commission will have wide ranging powers on how to regulate its process and procedures. It will also have the power to enlist experts as it sees fit to advise it on the way forward.
“…So this is not a process where the government has a hidden hand and is directing the show. That is how we in the PPP do things,” the Senior Parliamentarian concluded.