Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 July 2021, 15:05 by Denis Chabrol
The pro-People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Election Commissioners on Tuesday offered the termination of contracts as an another option for the exit of three top officials of that election management authority, a move the opposition side said it would be studying.
Pro-opposition A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Election Commissioner, Vincent Alexander said it is clear that the PPP wants the Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield, Deputy Chief Elections Officer Roxanne Myers and the Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo out of office.
“The hearings are backing them off…. I think I have a sounds case for a fair hearing so there is no issue of a hearing if they go for termination,” said Mr. Alexander.
PPP Election Commissioner said the reason why the termination of contract was not included in the original motion was because it was only last week that copies were sent to the GECOM Chairman, Retired Justice Claudette Singh. “We did not withdraw. We have amended as an alternative,” Ms. Shadick, an Attorney-at-Law, told News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM/ Demerara Waves Online News.
Ms. Shadick noted Mr. Lowenfield, in court papers filed to challenge debate on the motions for immediate dismissal, had cited the option for the termination of his contract.
She said she and her colleagues were determined to remove the Chief Elections Officer, Deputy Chief Elections Officer and the Region Four Returning Officer because they allegedly breached statutory responsibilities. “Our ultimate aim is for the people not to be at GECOM so whatever way we can get them out….,” Ms. Shadick added.
If their contracts are terminated within the three-month required notice on either side, he explained that GECOM would have to pay them all of their benefits Mr. Alexander said they would “leave with a clean record.”
Asked for his thoughts about the amendment, he said, “it’s a new development and I need time to give some thought to it.”
Mr. Lowenfield has a pending court challenge on the basis of the need for a fair hearing, arguing that the process has been infected from the outset by the public utterances of PPP-aligned Election Commissioners Sase Gunraj and Bibi Shadick.
Mr. Alexander had called, instead, for a tribunal to be set up to hear the allegations against Lowenfield, Myers and Mingo, but Mr. Gunraj had said the law did not provide for such a mechanism.
The trio is before the court, along with two People’s National Congress functionaries, on several charges related to electoral fraud.