CEO’s report professional, impartial; conforms with Nation Recount Order -AG
DPI, Guyana, Monday, June 15, 2020
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Basil Williams, SC, said the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Elections Commission(GECOM) Keith Lowenfield has complied with the provisions of paragraph twelve (12) of Order No. 60 of 2020 made under article 162 (1) (b) of the Constitution and section 22 of the Election Laws (Amendment) Act No. 15 of 2000.
On Saturday, the CEO submitted the matrices for the recount of the ten (10) Electoral Districts and a summary of the Observation Reports for each district to the Commission for their deliberation.
According to the AG, the People’s Progressive Party Ci(PPP/C) has again “true to form” purported to attack another official of GECOM by contending that he could not in his report “…offer a view, opinion or judgment, either in the Observation Report or Matrices to be tabulated”.
“This contention is highly erroneous and spurious and it is because the PPP/C refuses to acknowledge the third component in paragraph twelve (12), that the other two components were to be submitted in a report. (emphasis mine)”
Paragraph twelve (12) reads: –
“The matrices for the recount of the ten (10) Electoral Districts shall then be tabulated by the Chief Election Officer and shall be submitted in a report, together with a summary of the observation reports for each District, to the Commission”.
AG Williams said it is understood that the CEO in addition to tabulating and summarising is expected in giving his ‘report’ to express his views, opinions and judgments on his observations and investigations done, in that dual process.
Moreover, it is implied in summarising the ORs, that the CEO is expected to bring his mind to bear on what he would include or exclude and would be therefore expressing a view or opinion on the ORs.
On a proper reading of paragraph twelve (12), the AG said, one cannot find such restrictions on the exercise of the CEO’s functions thereunder as contended by the PPPC.
“Their allegation that his report is ultra vires, unconstitutional and the like is reminiscent of the wild recourse to the High Court, claiming that the Returning Officer of Electoral District Four (4) was in Contempt of Court, but which was thrown out by the learned Chief Justice, Madam Roxane George- Wiltshire.”
In light of the foregoing, AG Williams said any reasonable person would conclude that the CEO executed his duties with professionalism, integrity, impartiality and in conformity with provisions of paragraph twelve (12) of the Order.