GECOM’s legal officer fulfilled her responsibility by delivering opinion

Dear Editor,

The existence, and the tabling of a legal opinion, done by GECOM’s legal officer, has raised the ire of some members of the Commission, as expressed both at the 14th May Statutory Meeting of the Commission and by Commissioner Trotman in the media.

Any rational reading of the said legal opinion would identify its clear logic and its accordance with the Constitution.

On this basis, one does not need to hold a brief in support of the legal officer herself, but to support the Constitution’s letter, spirit and intent on the matters referred to.

The complaints being made by Commissioner Trotman and others, fly in the face of the duty of the legal officer to bring, as a matter of urgency, any issue which, arising out of her professional expertise, must be brought to the Executive’s and the Commission’s attention which naturally require the pointing out of any legal risks, exposure or jeopardy which the Commission has found itself in, or may find itself in, on a particular course of action taken or intended.

Whether the legal opinion expressed accords with the particular views of Commissioners, one way or another, should not be of issue.  It is for the Commission to be made aware, with dispatch, of the advice and to make decisions and take actions relating to that advice.

What is important, too, is that the legal officer would have, through diligent, dispassionate work, produced an opinion which would aid GECOM in its deliberations and actions towards according with Guyana’s Constitution and supporting laws in respect of elections, the requirements for a valid list of voters at all times, and for registration.

To do otherwise, by failing to produce a legal opinion, would have been a gross dereliction of duty on the part of the legal officer of GECOM and a manifest

departure from the professional conduct required of any such person, holding the position of the legal officer of GECOM.

Any such opinion should not have to be requested or mandated but should simply arise out of the fulfilling of the remit of the office.

It should be made clear for the public, that the legal opinion was in the possession of the Executive for over a month before it was made available, to all Commissioners on Tuesday, May 14, 2019.

Yours faithfully,

Robeson Benn

GECOM Commissioner

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