GECOM should never be allowed to hold another election under the current Secretariat – Guyana Times
HomeLettersGECOM should never be allowed to hold another election under the current Secretariat
Dear Editor, A year ago, on Friday 10th January 2020, GECOM had its 2020 General and Regional Elections Nomination Day. It was on this day, around 10:00 am, that the political parties and the nation as a whole received some ink from regarding the upcoming skull from senior GECOM staff. In preparation for this day, and having been informed that political parties would be admitted to the Umana Yana site, where GECOM would receive candidate lists from the competing parties on a first-come, first-served basis , two (2) newest / smaller parties camping in front of the Umana Yana as of Wednesday evening, three (3) days before the actual event. The New Movement (TNM) first arrived at around 6:00 pm, followed by the United Republican Party (URP) sometime between 7:00 and 8:00 pm. New and United Guyana (ANUG) joined the camp line Thursday morning at approximately 6:30 am. Eventually, the People’s / Civic Progressive Party (PPP / C) and Change Guyana (CG) joined the camp later this Thursday. Note: the National Unity Partnership / Alliance for Change (APNU / AFC) ruling coalition did not join the camp at any time or join the line of political parties waiting patiently to register with GECOM. On the morning of Friday 10th January, Nominations Day, members of the Guyana Police Force arrived and erected barricades in front of the Umana Yana. They then told all the representatives of the political parties, who kept their place in the line, to move behind the barricades to avoid congestion at the entrance of the Umana Yana. The party representatives did all as was said, with lots of jokes and good humor. Shortly after, Mr Lowenfield, CEO of GECOM, and his party of staff arrived and spoke to us. He explained the procedure for registering for the Nominations Day event, which was to go to the Umana Yana guard hut and pass our information to the security guard, who would put it in a book. This would be used to determine the order in which political parties would enter the Umana Yana compound to register and submit their lists of candidates along with the required signatures. This order was important, because if a person had signed for two political parties, the first registered party would be allowed to retain the signature, and the other party would have to find a signature new. Finding a new signature may have meant that the political party had to go back to the area to find another person to sign on its sheet. Party representatives hurried across the road, and I entered the guard hut first. The guard opened the book to receive the information and, low and behold, the name of APNU / AFC Representative, Carol Joseph, had already been written in the first line and indicated that she arrived on Tuesday at 18:30 hours. When I opposed this, the guard just shrugged and gave a look that said, “What can I do? I just follow instructions; don’t quarrel with me. ” As I was loudly opposed to the guard and the neighboring Police officers, along with other party representatives, Mr Lowenfield entered the gate and I called on him for an explanation as to how the APNU / AFC representative could be listed first, when they had not arrived until that morning. Mr Lowenfield replied that there was nothing he could do about it, and continued to walk away. Nominations Day is an event organized and managed by GECOM, and Mr Lowenfield was the CEO of GECOM. So the ultimate authority was with him. He had therefore deliberately allowed the name of the APNU / AFC representative to be written in the book before the other party representatives. At the time, this event may seem like a small matter, but, in retrospect, that was the moment when we should have known and prepared for all the GECOM and APNU / AFC skulls which was to come and cascade down on Guyana. I call on the Chairman of GECOM to investigate this and other incidents of misconduct committed by the GECOM Secretariat and its senior staff. Any confirmed incident of misconduct should be dealt with firmly, including dismissal where necessary. GECOM is no longer a trusted organization, and its reputation is well known. The Secretariat needs to be cleaned of people who are unworthy. An internal investigation is urgently needed, and evidence found can and should be used to dismiss or punish misleading personnel, including the CEO, the DCEO, and other senior staff. I take this opportunity to say that NEVER and GECOM NEVER should be allowed to hold another election of any kind under the current management of the Secretariat.