The Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), The Citizenship Initiative (TCI), The New Movement (TNM) as well as the United Republican Party (URP), have called for the immediate dismissal of Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield, following a plethora of actions from him aimed at further delaying and hindering the electoral process.
In four separate statements to the press last evening, the four smaller parties made their frustration known with the electoral proceedings, as one party even related that the country is being held hostage by Lowenfield through his reluctance to comply with instructions from his superior.
The TNM in their statement said that Lowenfield has acted ultra vires on numerous occasions and had done so again yesterday, after the Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Justice (ret’d) Claudette Singh, had written to him with clear and specific instructions, which were, however, not executed.
“His very actions” TNM said, “has held an entire nation at ransom and snatched the people’s democratic freedom. Mr. Lowenfield has been noted to peddle an erroneous statement in June 2020 saying that he is not bounded by the directives of GECOM but has stated publicly in 2019 that it was GECOM who by constitutional order, instructs him.”
Based on the above citation, the TNM made an appeal to Justice Singh to fire Lowenfield, tomorrow [today], if he fails to comply with the directives set out in her letter dated July 9, 2020 and the follow up letter dated July 10th, 2020. To further cement their request, the party made note of private criminal charges filed against the CEO for fraud and misconduct. That matter was called to court on Monday morning, but Lowenfield failed to appear, following which he was summoned by the Magistrates.
The party went on to say that, “His (Lowenfield) blatant disrespect has tested our patience but we will not continue to have GECOM let one of their main staff go rogue anymore. We will reiterate that we firmly believe GECOM needs to act and take stern steps to curb his malicious actions by simply discharging him of his duties. Please act for the people of Guyana, in all justice and fairness. We have had enough. Terminate the services of Lowenfield and declare the results.”
The leader of the United Republican Party (URP) Dr. Vishnu Bandhu shared the views of TNM as he called on Justice Singh “to get stern with the persistent insolence of Lowenfield and draw on the relevant clauses at her disposal to terminate the services of an individual who continues to hold back the socio-economic, and political fortitude of an entire nation.”
Meanwhile, The Citizenship Initiative (TCI) noted with concern that the CEO is unsure of how to comply with clear directives received from the head of the Commission, which has now forced the Chair to reissue her instructions for the third time.
“TCI is of the opinion, that with previous elections experience under his belt, the CEO is more than aware of how his job should be done. In light of this background, the CEO’s action can possibly be construed as insubordinate action against Madame Chair,” they said.
They continued, “We posit that Guyana’s constitution in Article 161 A (1) gives the Elections Commission responsibility for the efficient functioning of the Secretariat, and appointment of its officers. The Commission, therefore, has the power to remove and to exercise disciplinary control over such staff. Section 18 of the Election Laws Act No 15 of 2000 stipulates that the CEO is subject to the direction and control of the Commission.”
TCI proposes that should CEO Lowenfield appear to continue to be reluctant or perhaps even appear unable to efficiently complete his duties as per deadline issued, that the Chair exercises disciplinary control as the case may warrant.
The LJP, headed by Lennox Shuman, also called on Justice Singh and the Commissioners of GECOM to ensure strict compliance by Lowenfield with its instructions, and in the absence thereof, to take stern disciplinary actions, up to and including his removal from office as previously advocated for by the LJP.
“The will of the people must be respected and reflected by a declaration using the figures generated from the recount exercise,” the LJP said in their statement.