‘Words of Wind’ must not be used superfluously (Part 1)

first_imgDear Editor,The Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Justice (retired) James Patterson, recently stated thus: “Elections count for nothing if not free and fair”. This is indeed most welcoming.Notably, however, in the absence of necessary and definitive, transparent actions at the Commission’s level, the credentials and acceptability of such statements become quite shallow.There are widely known numerous factual positions regarding the rigging of past elections in Guyana, influenced by the People’s National Congress under previous GECOM management. It cannot be denied that GECOM conducted the 2015 Regional and National Elections which lacked the measures of authenticity to validate any level of acceptance by most. ‘Words of Wind’ must therefore not be used superfluously to camouflage the need to adequately address obvious shortcomings exercised in or by this organisation. Among the huge questions are the selection procedure and the role of the selected staff.The PPP filed an elections petition which challenges the validity of the outcome of the 2015 General and Regional Elections, and this gives testimony. Significant in the claims is that the elections were not held in conformity with the Constitution of Guyana.The numerous electoral irregularities for which there have been no prosecutions overwhelm the credibility of the results. It is very much totally unacceptable and insufficient to have summary pronouncements from the responsible conductor of the elections to the effect that there have been few spatial occurrences, and those may not have impacted the final results. There is need for stiffer penalties, and laws must be put in place to prohibit blatant irregularities.The evidence of procedural errors and numerous instances of fraudulent and/or suspicious actions during the elections are proof that cannot be denied. The seriousness of fake statements of poll, and let us not forget that the Chief Elections Officer, on the night of Wednesday, 13th May, 2015, said he could not announce the Elections results because he discovered “fake statements of poll”. On that night he was very clear that the amount was too much for him to accept.Further, the former Chairman of the Elections Commission, at his last press conference, said there were 33 fake statements of poll, and they were not counted, and those votes went against the PPP/C. The petition also makes reference to the presence of “big and vicious mobs” at several polling stations and other strategic places, which led to multiple voting, particularly in Region #4.The Chairman of GECOM accepted that the PPP had exceptionally good results from the last 2016 LGE. He talks of the PPP winning the popular votes and dominating the vote count in rural areas, while also raising concerns about intimidation and fear on Election Day.The fact that the GECOM Chairman is not yet walking the talk is a matter of serious concern.The Chairman’s obvious knowledge about all the bungling by the Secretariat, which caused the last period of Continuous Registration to start two weeks late, raises serious questions. Information received confirms there was an understanding that two additional weeks would have to be accommodated. However, when the PPP Commissioners advanced the discussion for the extension, it was denied. It means that citizens of this country are being denied the opportunity to do their registration transactions, as the Chairman joined with the PNC Commissioners and voted down the agreed request to have the two weeks of extension.It is known that the Commission, at a statutory meeting, agreed that the criticism against the GECOM staff is a matter of serious concern. Further, the meeting agreed that all the applicants for the “Training of GECOM” trainers to work for the Election Commission will be called to the official training. It is very worrying and most ridiculous to know that more than one hundred persons who applied were not called to the official training.Sincerely,Neil Kumarlast_img