Guyanese should campaign for a totally independent Gecom

Dear Editor,

The PPP is making a mountain out of a molehill. They need to ensure that the mechanisms to hold free and fair elections are in place and are managed by an independent-minded and competent staff.

After all, Steve Surujbally was a PPP acolyte, but he was not prepared to bend too low, and the PPP ran a daily campaign to get rid of him. Now he has resigned, what next? They want another person of their choice, an opportunist, as Jagdeo’s list suggests. The PPP should be bold and publish the job description of the Chairman of Gecom and should ensure that the person they prefer fits those criteria ‒ in every sense.

As a voter, I think all voters should know what this person is required to do, so that we are able to hold him or her to account for any perceived wrongdoing. The politicians bicker among themselves, whilst voters are left with their mouths open. Let the Gecom job be like any other professional job. More importantly, the person in this position must have the confidence of the Guyanese voters across the country.

The PPP has filed an election petition challenging the validity of the May 2015 general election, and that matter is still to be heard. They protested and boycotted the National Assembly, to no effect. The masses of people wanted change. The PPP protesters attracted the known suspects, ie, paid members and supporters of the PPP.

The PPP has forgotten that the 2011 general election results would have been different had it not been for the brilliance of Gecom Commissioner, Vincent Alexander, who detected the gross miscalculation by Chief Elections Officer Gocool Boodhoo. That historic turn of events rendered the PPP a minority regime and caused Donald Ramotar to become the first lame-duck president.

The history of Guyana would have been different if the Donald Ramotar presidency had not suffered from that, which in due course brought his regime crashing to the ground after a successful ‘No confidence’ vote in the National Assembly. The prorogation could not be sustained and following an election there was the ushering in of the current coalition government. What the PPP needs to ensure is that there is no fiddling of the election results by any senior staff of Gecom.

Guyanese should campaign for a totally independent Gecom where political parties will have no say in the management of any elections in Guyana, as is done in developed countries. We need to drastically improve the speed at which the results are declared, given a voting population of less than half a million voters and the availability of modern technology.

Yours faithfully,

M Jinnah Rahman

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