Opposition-nominated commissioners have refused to meet as a Commission. They refused an invitation by Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, to a meeting which suggested that he is prepared to announce the results of the general elections.
We are not going:
Last evening, Commissioners Sase Gunraj, Robeson Benn and Bibi Shadick, made it clear that they are not meeting as there is a current matter before the courts. And in any case, it would constitute contempt.
“…We will not respond to any such or further invitations from the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield or Chairman of Guyana Elections Commission, Justice Claudette Singh, while the court proceedings are still extant.”
The meeting of the commission will be among the last steps before a notice is sent by the Commission to the Chancellor (ag) of the Judiciary, Yonette Cummings-Edwards, to swear in as President, David Granger who is leading the Coalition and which has been given the controversial lead in the voting.
According to the three commissioners, they received an e-mail last evening from Lowenfield, which was addressed to the Chair, Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh, and copied to all Commissioners of GECOM.
It indicated he is ready with the results from the Returning Officers for General and Regional Elections 2020 from Districts 1–10.
“In accordance with Cap 1: 03 Section 99, I have prepared the final report for submission to the Commission. In this regard, a request is made for a meeting of the Commission at your earliest convenience.”
However, the Opposition commissioners made it clear that they will not be party to the invitation as there are matters involving the results before the court.
In fact, there is a critical decision involving jurisdiction in which the Chief Justice, Roxane George-Wiltshire, is expected to rule on today.
“We consider this invitation to meet as a flagrant attempt to breach the Order of Court and a naked attempt by the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, to suborn us to breach an Order of Court and exposing us to liability for contempt of court.
As holders of a constitutional office, we are at all times obligated to obey the Constitution and other laws of Guyana and we consider this invitation to meet as not only a violation of our duty to uphold the Constitution but also an invitation to subvert the course of justice.”
The commissioners said that they wish to reiterate that their unconditional position is that Section 84 of the Representation of the People Act, Chapter 1:03 of the Laws of Guyana was not complied with by the Returning Officer of Region Four, Clairmont Mingo, last week after he abandoned a number of critical verification processes, sparking protests by the international communities and local observers.
“…and therefore the purported declaration of the votes recorded for each list of candidates is invalid, null, void and of no effect,” the three Opposition commissioners said last evening in their statement.
The commissioners also point out that they were served with court orders halting any announcements.
The elections have been married with violence with one dead and school children injured.
The results, which are being contested, are being loudly condemned by international community, observers and local bodies which are questioning the tabulation process.
The elections have been described as one of the biggest with the future of the two political giants hanging in balance and with control of the oil industry for the next five years at stake.