General Secretary of the governing People’s Progressive Party (PPP) on Monday denied that he has been ratcheting up concerns about the voters list as a way of attacking the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield.
“We welcome Mr. Lowenfield’s assumption to office…We have no interest in attacking anyone personally at GECOM. We attack issues. We deal with the issues and not the personalities,” he told a news conference at Freedom House, the PPP’s Headquarters.
Lowenfield earlier this year succeeded Gocool Boodoo whose contract was not renewed amid allegations of miscalculation of the 2011 general election results. A number of the PPP-nominated Election Commissioners had publicly supported Boodoo but when Lowenfield’s appointment came down to a vote, the seven-member commission unanimously supported him.
Addressing a public meeting at Turning Point, TucVille, Georgetown last Friday, A Partnership for National Unity’s (APNU) Campaign Manager, Winston Felix accused Rohee of targeting Lowenfield. “There is a new CEO and the PPP attacks, in my view, they are aimed- they are not calling his name- are aimed at him because they want to beat him into shape because they know that he might not be as malleable as Boodoo and that he would try to do a straight job,” he said. Felix had based his contention on the fact that the PPP had not criticized GECOM when that party had lost a seat in Linden and the Justice For All Party (JFAP) had lost a seat in Region Three.
But Rohee accused Felix of engaging in mischief and race-bating. “Mr Felix is obviously trying to pitch the PPP against the Chief Elections Officer, Mr Lowenfield or maybe he is trying to play the race card- I don’t know- but he is up to his usual mischief,” he said.
The PPP General Secretary stressed that if his party has problems with the voters list or any aspect of the preparations for elections, the public and the Chief Elections Officer would be informed. He assured that the PPP had nothing to hide and had no interest in rigging elections.
GECOM has since refuted several allegations by the PPP including a padded voters list, the presence of thousands of names of dead persons and others who could not be found in the voters list.
This is the first time in almost 20 years that the PPP, since returning to office in 1992, has levelled so many complaints about the voters list. The opposition has expressed very few concerns and has not been so vocal in the media about preparations for general elections widely expected within the next four months due to an Alliance For Change (AFC)-sponsored no-confidence motion.