GECOM Chairman silent on dismissing Lowenfield, accepting results report

Last Updated on Monday, 13 July 2020, 13:16 by Denis Chabrol

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) was Monday morning divided on whether to accept the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield’s report that includes bloated regional four results or to fire him for disobeying the instructions of the Chairman, Claudette Singh.

Sources said the three pro-APNU+AFC commissioners- Vincent Alexander, Desmond Trotman and Charles Corbin-endorsed the report that shows a win for the David Granger-led coalition.

But the PPP-backed commissioners- Sase Gunraj, Robeson Benn and Bib Shadick- made out a case for Mr. Lowenfield to be fired for failing o carry out the instructions of the Commission that he was required to use the recounted and certified as valid the votes cast at the March, 2020 general and regional elections.

If the national vote recount data is used, the PPP will prevail as the winner of the controversial elections. This is the first time that GECOM has taken so long to declare results of an election, leading to mounting international pressure for the recount data to be used.

The sources said the GECOM Chairman did not say anything throughout the meeting on either of the two positions taken by the politically divided commission.

Lowenfield, from the tone of correspondence to the Chairman,   maintains that he is within his constitutional  right to deliver advice on the results to the commission, not for the commission to tell him what to include in his report.

PPP lawyer, Anil Nandlall and Senior Counsel Ralph Ramkarran, however, say that the Elections Laws and the Recount Order reinforce that the Chief Elections Officer is subjected to the direction of the commission.

On Lowenfield’s point that the recount order did not cater for Returning Officers, as specified in the Representation of the People Act, Mr. Nandlall has said the Caribbean Court of Justice did not strike down that order and instead the Election Law was used to give the Commission the power to use staff members rather than Returning Officers to conduct the recount.

The commission meeting resumes at 2:30 PM Monday.