No reason for GECOM CEO to resign – President Granger

DPI, Guyana, Sunday, June 14, 2020

There is no reason for Chief Elections Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Keith Lowenfield to resign. This is according to His Excellency President David Granger.

Questioned on the subject by reporters on Sunday at State House, the Head of State said he did not think the question of resignation arises.

“I think under the circumstances he did what he was empowered to do under the law, what he is capable to do with the resources.” The President said.

He added that one needed to look at the entire process from everything that occurred during 2019, “Starting with the challenge in the courts from the 4th January when the question arose about the legality of the lawfulness of Mr. Persaud sitting in the National Assembly.”

President Granger explained that Mr. Lowenfield is not in control of the courts and he could not accelerate that process.  He recounted writing to the then Chairperson of GECOM (retd) Justice James Patterson calling on him to hold the elections at the earliest credible time.

“These have been the real factors that have delayed the elections and I believe that when Justice Singh got there in July 2019, she did what was feasible to have elections in the earliest possible time… Because of the groundwork which had been laid by Mr. Lowenfield and the other officials in the election commission, in the secretariat we were able to have the elections on March 2.” President Granger added.

He reiterated that the 2nd March 2020 General and Regional Elections were possible because of Lowenfield and GECOM staff.

“Don’t forget that is she (GECOM Chair) who wrote me on the September 19 stating that the election could not be held.  I don’t think Lowenfield was holding back the commission before the end of February.”

Reminding that it was agreed by all parties that March 2 was the earliest possible date to hold the elections the President made clear that “Mr. Lowenfield is not to be blamed for that, I wouldn’t ask for his resignation and I wouldn’t even expect him to offer it.”

The Head of State said he thought Mr. Lowenfield he did quite well under the circumstances.

In the meantime, speaking of attacks in the media, The President said those were unjustified.

“Many of us have been attacked in the media; the Chairman has been attacked, I have been attacked, Mr. Harmon, Mr. Lowenfield have also been attacked.  I don’t believe the attacks were justified and, in my view, Mr. Lowenfield did remarkably well under pressure with limited resources and circumstances.”

The President’s press conference with members of the local media saw him addressing matters of national concern; namely Elections 2020 and the local economy.