GECOM should have been primed for elections since announcement of no-confidence motion

Dear Editor,

It has been a constant concern of mine, since all the controversy has surfaced, concerning whether GECOM can be ready to effectively manage the conduct of National and Regional elections, within the time stipulated by the Constitution, but specifically in this case, with respect to the successful passage of a No Confidence Motion.

I assume that those in charge of this highly sensitive and important Constitutional entity, would have above average managerial skills, at the helm, to enable them to manage such a Commission.

I also assume that these managers would be knowledgeable, familiar and aware of every aspect of GECOM’s responsibilities and be in a state of readiness to carry out these responsibilities under all and any circumstances.

Even though much has been written and said on the failure by GECOM to comply with their responsibilities, I cannot recall any argument that can convince anyone that they have done so. My reference to GECOM refers almost entirely to the arbitrarily selected Chairman and the Chief Election Officer, (CEO) Mr. Lowenfield, formerly a senior officer of the Guyana Defence Force.

My argument is that the date December 22nd should not be used as the date for GECOM to “quick March”, but immediately upon the public announcement that the No Confidence Motion would have been tabled in Parliament.

I understand that the Motion was tabled on November 15th and passed on -December 21st.

GECOM, as said before (being always prepared for all and any eventualities) should have immediately on the tabling of the Motion (and possibly even before, ie. upon the notice by the Leader of the Opposition of his intention) should have started to put the necessary systems in place to have the elections held within the time frame stipulated by the provisions of the Constitution. I do not for one moment believe that they were not aware of their Constitutional responsibilities.

Further, should we go through the mathematical calculation (hopefully no controversy is involved with this) it would have been one hundred and twenty six  days from November 15th to March 21st. which is obviously in excess of the ninety  days stipulated by the Constitution.

Further, add the thirty days in April, to take the elections to the end of the list validity (April 30) would give one hundred and fifty six  days.

It was the CEO who is reported to have said that GECOM could have been ready to have credible elections in a maximum of one hundred and forty eight days.

Others, including the former Chairman and the Deputy CEO have also pronounced on this as well as the current list being usable for National and Regional Elections, possibly with a period for claims and objections, to remove persons who have died and on the list and other ineligible persons.

It is indeed difficult not to come to the conclusion that the reasons and excuses being given for GECOM not being ready to manage and conduct credible elections are all contrived to keep the Government in office beyond the date stipulated by the Constitution.

If, as is being claimed (and which has nothing to do with GECOM being in a state of readiness) that matters are being argued in the courts, surely there was enough time to have these matters disposed of by now. I remember quite recently where the CCJ listened to arguments and gave a decision on a Sunday, to allow someone to vote in elections on the Monday following.

Mr Ramjattan’s arguments on “ necessity” should have been more properly used in this instance.

Finally, passing the ball between GECOM and the President with neither shooting  for the goal is purely defensive play which fools no one.

Yours faithfully,

Harry Nawbatt

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