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PPP commissioners condemn fresh attacks on GECOM chair

PPP GECOM Commissioners: (left to right) Sase Gunraj, Robeson Benn and Bibi Safora Shadick

The opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP)-aligned election commissioners on Thursday condemned new attacks being leveled against Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chair Retired Justice Claudette Singh.

Commissioners Sase Gunraj, Bibi Shaddick and Robeson Benn said in a joint statement that there seems to be a new norm where individuals and organizations that take actions or make statements which appear to be different from one party, they are subject to various kinds of attacks.

“Recently, the vilest attacks have been directed towards Justice Claudette Singh, Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission, presumably for the firm stance she has taken in rejecting the fraudulent reports presented and insisting that only the recount figures be presented to the Commission for the purposes of a declaration of final elections results,” the statement added.

While Commissioners may not always agree with the chair, the PPP trio said Singh has always discharged her duties with professionalism, fairness and impartiality, and in keeping with the tenets of the constitution and other legal provisions.

As such, they condemned the “scurrilous attacks” on the chairman and call upon those engaged in such conduct, which also allegedly include senior members of the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) to cease and desist from so doing.

The GECOM Chairman, Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire, judges of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and at least two leaders of the Caribbean Community have in recent weeks been subjected to verbal attacks by the coalition because their decisions and pronouncements point to the need for the use of valid votes to declare the results of the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections.

The PPP had in recent months stopped short of publicly criticising the GECOM Chairman when decisions appeared not to have been in their favour. PPP General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo had in October 2018 cautioned that the credibility of the CCJ would have lost “all of its credibility” if it had not overturned a decision by Guyana’s courts that the President’s unilateral appointment of a GECOM Chairman had been constitutional although the Opposition Leader had proposed 18 named.

The politically-divided GECOM is almost evenly split between APNU+AFC and the PPP, with the governing coalition representatives being Desmond Trotman, Charles Corbin and Vincent Alexander.