GECOM sends Lowenfield, Myers, Mingo on leave

-pending decision by Chairman

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), on Tuesday sent Chief Election Officer, Mr. Keith Lowenfield, Deputy Chief Election Officer (DECO), Ms. Roxanne Myers and Region Four Returning Officer, Mr. Clairmont Mingo on leave, pending a decision by Chairman, Justice (ret’d) Claudette Singh.   

This was relayed to DPI by Government Commissioner, attorney Sase Gunraj.

GECOM Commissioner, Mr. Sase Gunraj

Mr. Gunraj and Commissioners Bibi Shadick and Manoj Narayan are backing three motions to relieve the officers of their duties on the basis that they were part of repeated attempts to rig the 2020 General and Regional Elections.

“Courts upon courts have pronounced upon their actions, and have determined the egregious nature of their actions.  Their actions were on display for all the world to see. So, it does not require much gloss or much elucidation to determine the transgressions of those persons,” Mr. Gunraj told DPI moments after the decision was publicised.  

Chief Elections Officer, Mr. Keith Lowenfield

The Commission was set to vote on the three motions today. However, the Opposition side made a series of attempts to prevent a vote, arguing that the Commission should not make such a decision, but that an independent tribunal should make that decree.  

“It was submitted from our side that GECOM by virtue of its constitutional mandate, is responsible for the hiring, firing, disciplining and overall management of its staff, and as a consequence is specifically tasked and authorised to conduct the very function that they are complaining of,” Commissioner Gunraj said.

Region Four Returning Officer, Mr. Clairmont Mingo

The Chairman is expected to decide on the argument made by the Opposition Commissioners, but Mr. Gunraj said she has not provided a timeline for that decision. He said his reading of the articles of the Constitution from which GECOM derives its powers, does not suggest that it has the power to delegate its functions as the Opposition Commissioners are suggesting.

Commissioner Gunraj says he is optimistic that the Chair will rule that the Commission has the authority and ability to hear the motions.

Deputy Chief Elections Officer, Ms. Roxanne Myers

A press release from GECOM said the Commission took a unanimous decision for the Secretariat’s staff to proceed on their respective annual leave with effect from Monday, 28th June, 2021.

It said the decision was necessary to facilitate the Commission’s deliberation on the three motions tabled by the Government nominated Commissioners seeking the immediate dismissal of those persons as well as the course of action to be adopted to conclude this process.

The CEO will proceed on 42 days annual leave, the DCEO will be on 120 days leave and the Returning Officer will be on 35 days leave.

GECOM says it intends to conclude the discussions within the shortest possible time.

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