Those who advocate changes in the composition and method of selection of the members of the Elections Commission suffer from the ostrich syndrome. They have their heads, like the proverbial ostrich, buried in the sand. They ignore that elections in Guyana are the victim of two enduring Guyanese realities – a history of election rigging and ethno-political demons. That is why even the agreed constitutionally enshrined method after 1992 of choosing the chair and members is now failing.
Prior to 1992 the chair of the Commission was appointed by the Head of State after perfunctory consultation with the Leader of the Opposition. That process gave us Sir Donald Jackson and Sir Harold Bollers, under whom elections from 1968 to 1985 were rigged. Two members of the Commission were appointed also by the Head of State, one in his own deliberate judgment, one on the recommendation of the Leader of the Opposition. All efforts to prevent the rigging of elections were unsuccessful.
For the 1992 elections the PNC administration under President Desmond Hoyte was ‘persuaded’ to accept a change in the composition and method of selection of the chair and members of the Commission, which was subsequently enshrined in the Constitution. As is well known, the chair is selected from six names submitted by the Leader of the Opposition. And the six members are chosen by the President, three in his deliberate judgment and three on the recommendation of the Leader of the Opposition…..