Since 2006, the Carter Center had recommended changing the GECOM governance structure

Dear Editor,

I sincerely hope that you will pardon reference to a submission on the above subject addressed to your columns some eighteen months ago.

It reads as follows:

“…. there could be no forgiving the Commissioners’ delinquency regarding what should have been a historic ‘Observation’ by the very Carter Center Mission to the effect that the extant governance structure (of GECOM) had become sterile and counter-productive, and should be aborted. That since 2006 such a recommendation was neither comprehensively debated, or conclusive decision made at the highest level of the sponsoring Parties, was clear evidence of dereliction of duty by the then Commissioners. How could they not recognise their greater responsibility to the Citizenship as a whole, and who would also have a constitutional right to be a part of that critical decision-making process?

The Carter Center Mission, in recommending the discontinuance of the current political management framework, made reference to models in the Commonwealth which function more effectively, and consequently enjoy much more credibility. They recommended a new structure to be managed by recognisably qualified professionals, as obtains in Barbados, Jamaica, Canada and elsewhere; and for a specific term of office.

Following are extracts from ‘Recommendations/Issues to be addressed’.

“2.   Reforming GECOM

a)  GECOM should be independent from the government and be accountable to and receive funding from the National Assembly. The independence of GECOM from the government’s administration will bolster the Commission’s credibility and independence.

b)  The Carter-Price formula for GECOM should be changed to ensure that GECOM is not divided solely along political lines:

i)   GECOM should be composed of individuals who are solely committed to carrying out a successful and transparent elections process, and who have the confidence of political parties, but who can also maintain independence. As noted in the Carter Center’s report on the 2001 elections, “as part of the electoral reform efforts, Guyana should give careful consideration to alternative models, possibly reducing or eliminating political party representation and increasing the role of independent members of civil society and professional experts.”

This is the challenge the electorate (not only government and opposition) now faces. It is time for corrective action – certainly after TEN YEARS.”

Would be most grateful for your consideration to republish at this juncture.

Yours faithfully,

E.B. John

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