GECOM Chair assures free and fair elections in 2020
─ “No one should have any doubt about that” – GECOM Chair
DPI, Guyana, Friday, November 8, 2019
Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Justice (re’td) Claudette Singh has assured that measures have been put in place to ensure that March 2, 2020, General and Regional Elections are free and fair.
This includes welcoming all observers – both local and international, to the elections and advisors to the commission.
“Persons should not doubt that GECOM would not produce credible elections. Everything is being done by GECOM to produce free, fair and credible elections. No one should have any doubt about that,” Justice Singh said at a press conference Friday morning.
The chair disclosed that the commission will receive support from the Commonwealth Secretariat. Two senior electoral advisors will come on board later in the month. The former Chief Election Officers from India and Ghana will also be offering advice to the commission to the lead up to elections.
Also, on board, is former Chief Elections Officer (CEO) from Canada Jean-Pierre Kingsley, who will be providing advice to the GECOM Chair and the commission. Other officials will act as advisors and overseers at the elections body.
“GECOM welcomes all election observers, but it is not the function of GECOM to accredit foreign observers – that is an executive function. So, that will be done by the President and Foreign Affairs [Ministry].”
Local observers will be accredited by the commission. This will be done as soon as the foreign observers have been accredited.
“We welcome everyone to have a look, all these foreign observers. We are not shutting the door on anyone,” the GECOM head said.
Meanwhile, the elections body is in preparation mode for the polls. Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield reported that the commission has received the paraphernalia required for the conduct of polls. These include ink, seals, and ballot boxes. The technical requirements for polling are also on location.
The training regimen for polling day staff has already been completed. More than 13,500 persons have been trained, and there is a refresher training course to be conducted at a later date.