PPP still concerned about mismanagement issues at GECOM

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The People’s Progressive Party is raising concerns regarding the lack of transparency and poor management among other issues that continue to plague the constitutional Guyana Elections Commission.

The three commissioners Bibi Shaddick, Robeson Benn and Sase Gunraj, who represent the PPP/C on the Commission today (Friday, February 17, 2017) raised numerous infractions.

Robeson Benn- PPP/C Commissioner

Benn told the media that the system at GECOM is fundamentally broken in terms of transparency. According to him, there is no office space for the commissioners to perform their duties, particularly for accommodating members of the public who have complaints.

The PPP Commissioner expressed disappointment pointing to the fact that GECOM is a constitutional body. Benn said the staff appointed in the various capacities at GECOM does not adequately reflect the national diversity and this brings problems of bias and collusion.

As it relates to the renewal of the Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield’s contract, Shaddick said there is a stipulation for an evaluation of his performance, however, an evaluation report was never shown to the commissioners, until they raised the issues and three such reports were handed over, which she suggests were only done to satisfy their concerns.

Bibi Shaddick- PPP/C Commissioner

The three PPP commissioners expressed the lack of confidence in the CEO. Benn said there can be no confidence in a Chief Elections Officer who undertakes in action which fundamentally undercuts the integrity and transparency of the agency. This is in specific reference to Lowenfield’s application to the court.

Sase Gunraj-PPP/C Commissioner

The three PPP Commissioners had filed a motion to instruct Lowenfield to withdraw an application to the courts to strike out the election petition filed by Ganga Persaud with respect to the May 11, 2015, General and Regional Elections.

However, this motion was blocked by GECOM Chairman, Dr. Steve Surujbally, who used his casting vote to rule in favour of the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Commissioners.

Today, they also spoke of the authoritarian style of Surujbally and his reluctance to address contentious issues and his presence at the Commission daily even though he is on official leave.

 

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