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GECOM ready to nominate Surujbally’s replacement

PPPC-nominated members of the Guyana Elections Commission (left to right) Sase Gunraj, Robeson Benn and Bibi Shadick.

PPPC-nominated members of the Guyana Elections Commission (left to right) Sase Gunraj, Robeson Benn and Bibi Shadick.

The People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) representatives on the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) said they are ready to submit nominees for a new Elections Commission Chairman to President David Granger, if it is true that Dr. Steve Surujbally is about to resign the post.

Elections Commissioners Bibi Shaddick, Robeson Benn and Sase Gunraj expressed surprise at a report in the state-owned Guyana Chronicle in which Surujbally is reported to have told the President that he was ready to step down in November, 2016 once a transition mechanism has been put in place.

Shaddick said if the report is accurate, the government has a responsibility to inform Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo of the Chairman’s impending withdrawal from office, so that the parties could submit their list of six persons they feel can be elected to replace him.

Guyana still uses the more than 20-year old Carter Centre formula for the selection of a Chairman. Observer missions by the Commonwealth, Carter Centre and the Organisation of American States have long urged that a new mechanism be developed to select  and appoint the commission from a list of non-political persons.

At a time when the Auditor General’s Office is auditing a multi-million dollar purchase of radio communication sets from a Water Street business, Shaddick said she and her colleagues were concerned that although the Elections Commission Chairman and its Chief Executive Keith Lowenfield are on leave, they are often at their place of employment.

She believes that the GECOM Chairman has used the taking of leave to avoid holding meetings of the seven-member commission.

Shaddick joined Benn in accusing the elections management authority of creating a “brick wall” of secrets which has prevented the Opposition Commission members from acquiring much needed information. Shaddik stated that every time questions concerning procurement of ballots and unknown staff members have been asked of GECOM they have received no answers. This, she said, can be seen as an act of treason.
“Even Lodges give out more information than GECOM…and Lodges are secret organisations,” she said.

Benn reiterated his party’s long-held position that GECOM  is dysfunctional and badly run. “GECOM is the worst run organisation that I have been associated with…and the rot starts at the top.”

Alluding to what he calls “thorough corruption,” Benn said if proper investigations were to be conducted there would be nothing left to hide with regards to the procurement.

With regards to the investigation of the CEO, he noted that there have been rumours about 20 files having gone missing from the GECOM office last week.

Gunraj told the news conference that from February 3, 2016 to date, the PPPC Commissioners have received no financial reports on the 2015 General Elections and the 2016 Local Government Elections.

All three members are in agreement that GECOM cannot function without the hosting of executive meetings. Benn suggested that of the Chairman cannot host a meeting then there should be a meeting of co-chairs from both parties who can stand in on his behalf.

  • Col123

    Waste of time and money. Get rid of this outfit!..The next election is already won by the PNC.. by 51% of the voters… now let’s get to the menu… Hey…do we get a steak with the rice and pepper?

    • Emile_Mervin

      The politics of the PPP and PNC demand they work with someone either party can control.
      But given what Jagdeo did for the 12 years he was President, there is no way the PNC dominated APNU and Coalition will ever let Jagdeo or the PPP get back in power as a single player.
      Maybe there will be a PNC-PPP Coalition Government, with the PPP in a junior role, but never a PPP government again.
      The only problem with such a Coalition government is it will precipitate the final collapse of Guyana, because corrupt politicians with insatiable appetites for power and wealth will dominate.

      • Col123

        Can’t dispute your point…but the proposal that Jagdeo will be in control or leadership of the PPP is unlikely during the next election. I suspect that there will be a semblance of reform within the PPP with a female leadership…It is difficult for me to understand how you can see a PNC-PPP coalition….given the bruising between PPP/PNC in those tied LGE, audits, political mileage on petty issues taken by both sides…etc. Regardless, the future for Guyanese appear bleak…an opportunity lost by Pres. Granger.

        • Emile_Mervin

          I am not predicting a PPP-PNC unity regime, only saying it is the only way the PPP will ever be in government again. The PNC has basically regained power in the current arrangement and will not relinquish this gain at any polls. And especially not after what Jagdeo did, brutally exploiting the PNCs own Constitution against it. As to whether Jagdeo will be the PPPs presidential candidate in 2020 will be dependent on what the appeal of Ian Chang’s ruling will produce. I think he will be denied that opportunity, but the PPP will never again be the sole occupant of government going forward.

          • ExPPP_Man

            You’re suggesting another 28 years of dictatorship ?

          • Col123

            Make that 50 years..

          • rudeo

            So it’s no Jagdeo for leadership of PPP come 2020….by the same token will it be Granger for leader of APNU + AFC (it that still exists) come 2020?

          • Col123

            Leadership does not matter…it’s the economy …

          • Col123

            There’s a 50/50 likelihood that the PPP will be out of govt for a number of years…predictable until a total collapse of the economy …if it happens … The coalition will survive, but as a prop…we will see more of a small elite class with the majority surviving below poverty level…and more of the same with thievery and corruption…my thoughts ..

          • rs dasai

            Emile
            Do not knock The Prezi. He does his best with whom /what he has at his disposal. He does not lack lustre.

  • Col123

    No…When were they “placed” in office?… I was not aware that they were PLACED in office!