Chief Election Officer due back at work this week – GECOM PRO

Keith Lowenfield

Following a brief hospitalization Chief Election Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield is expected to return to work any day now.

“I don’t have a date yet but he should be returning to work this week,” GECOM Public Relations Officer Yolanda Ward told this newspaper yesterday.

She explained that Lowenfield who had been hospitalized for heart-related complaints was discharged from hospital last Thursday and is expected to be fully functional once back to work.

“According to what his doctors have said he just needed rest to monitor his blood pressure,” Ward noted.

Lowenfield’s hospitalization came one day after President David Granger wrote the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) urging them to begin preparations for General and Regional Elections (GRE).

Two weeks ago GECOM by majority vote decided to advise President Granger that the 90-day constitutional deadline for general elections cannot be met adding that it will continue with its approved work plan for the year, including a national house-to-house registration process.

Since then vacancies for enumerators and Assistant Registration Officers for House to House registration have been advertised much to the chagrin of the three opposition-nominated commissioners.

In a press statement on Sunday the commissioners said that the Commission has not taken a decision to commence house-to-house Registration and as a consequence, these advertisements are perplexing, at best.

The commissioners, Bibi Shadick, Sase Gunraj and Robeson Benn, observed that the ads come in light of the impending need for the conduct of General and Regional Elections, mandated by the successful passage of a no-confidence motion in the National Assembly on the 21st December, 2018. “We maintain that House to House Registration is not necessary at this time. There are several legally prescribed processes for the revision of the electoral roll to enable the conduct of elections. These processes ought to be utilised in light of the constitutionally mandated timeline for the holding of the elections aforesaid,” the statement added. Ward however reiterated that the secretariat acts on the decision made at the level of the commission and the commission voted to proceed with the work programme. “Two meetings ago there were three motions put to the commission which passed by majority vote. The third motion was to continue with 2019 work plan which includes house-to-house registration. There was a vote so implementation must commence. The ads stem from attempts to proceed along that line,” she explained.  

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