Last Updated on Monday, 21 December 2020, 11:29 by Denis Chabrol
Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon on Monday condemned the Private Sector Commission’s call for several election commission officials, who have been charged with election-related offences, saying that business organisation must stop being a mouthpiece for the People’s Progressive Party.
“This is wicked and unacceptable. The APNU (A Partnership for National Unity) condemns this kind of political posturing by the Private Sector Commission,” he said in an audio recorded statement released to the media.
The PSC strongly suggested at the weekend that the officials, who have been charged with election related offences, should not be on the job to prepare for local government elections due next year. “The APNU is not surprised but astonished that the Private Sector Commission is now openly advocating the PPP regime’s position and calling for the removal of certain members of the staff of the election commission, using the trumped up charges against them as a pretext to get rid of them,” said Mr. Harmon who is also an executive member of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR).
“It is apposite to remind the Private Sector Commission that the rule of law must prevail and that these persons are presumed as innocent until proven guilty,” They are innocent until proven,” Mr. Harmon added. He restated the opposition coalition’s position that the PPP was caught rigging those elections and that that position would be proven in the two elections petitions that have been filed by the opposition.
The High Court is yet to decide on whether the petitions should be thrown out based on procedural technicalities. The Opposition Leader urged that the courts be allowed to do its job and that the law should be allowed to take its course. “The Private Sector should, therefore, restrain itself and stop acting as the mouthpiece of the PPP regime. The only mechanism that exists for dealing with irregularities in elections is the election petition. In the circumstance, the Private Sector Commission cannot and must not pronounce on the conduct of elections. This should be left to the courts,” he said.
Mr. Harmon, who is also General Secretary of the loosely-knit APNU, accused the PSC of receiving favours from the PPP but at the same time urged that business organisation to “curb their misplaced and exuberance and stop acting like puppets on a PPP string.”
Those charged are Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield, Deputy Chief Elections Officer Roxanne Myers, Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo, Information Technology Officer Enrique Livan and Registration Officer Sheffern February.
Mr. Lowenfield is currently on 146 days vacation leave which expires on January 30, 2021.
Election Commissioners representing government and opposition have told News-Talk Radio/ Demerara Waves Online News that the employment status of the accused officers has not been discussed by the seven-member decision-making body.