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High Court to consider amended GECOM motion for removal of Lowenfield

Last Updated on Wednesday, 4 August 2021, 11:33 by Denis Chabrol

Chief Election Officer of the Guyana Elections Commission, Keith Lowenfield.

High Court Judge Joann Barlow Wednesday morning allowed the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to submit a copy of an amended motion that now seeks to terminate the contract of the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield instead of a summary dismissal that will require a fair hearing.

Attorney-at-Law for GECOM, Kim Kyte said the amended motion by Election Commissioners Sase Gunraj and Bibi Shadick now refers to dismissal with notice based on Mr. Lowenfield’s employment contract.

Justice Barlow set August 9 for her decision on an injunction and might lead to success or failure of the fixed date application.

Mr. Lowenfield had moved to the High Court to challenge the decision by the Commission to go ahead with debate on the Gunraj-Shadick motion for him to be dismissed for several alleged breaches connected to the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections.

In court papers, Mr. Lowenfield contends that he would not be entitled to a fair hearing because public pronouncements by the duo have infected the process with bias.

Those Commissioners have since amended their motion to include the option of termination of contract.

Attorney-at-Law Nigel Hughes, who is representing Mr. Lowenfield, has said that any court ruling would also be applicable to the Deputy Chief Elections Officer Roxane Myers and the Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo whose removal are also being requested.

Justice Barlow noted that initially Ms. Kyte had only referred to the motion but had not submitted the exhibit.

Mr. Hughes said the concept of a public officer did not apply in this case.

The Judge said the issues in the case are quite narrow and include the process of summary dismissal would be tainted by bias, whether Mr. Lowenfield’s  application is premature ahead because no action has been taken that has led to his dismissal.

But the lawyer said a party to a contract could move to the court to prevent an “anticipated” breach from occurring. “It is our contention that based on the statements from the Commission or its members that it intended at the time of this application to pursue a particular route,” she said.