Overseer refuses to swear in PPP Councillors ; matter out of GECOM’s remit says DCEO
By Stacy Carmichael-James
The main opposition, People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is calling on the Chief Elections Officer of the Guyana Elections Commission, Keith Lowenfield to look into the matter of Overseer of Local Authority Area of Toevlugt/Patentia, Region three, Glenis Castello refusing to swear in two elected PPP Councillors.
The party in a press release today (April 3) said “we are calling upon the Chief Elections Officer to rectify this unfortunate impasse with every convenient speed. Anything less will be a subversion of the will of the electorate in this Local Authority Area.”
PPP is claiming that at a meeting held at the Goed Intent NDC Office, West Bank Demerara on April 01, 2016, Councillors Saheed Khan and Ravi Chandra Rickhee were prevented from taking the Oath of Office on the ground that their names did not appear on the list of names of Councillors she had in her possession.
The party noted that this is even as the two Councillors displayed to her and all the other Councillors their Certificate of Election that were officially issued by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) dated March 22, 2016 and a copy of the Official Gazette dated March 29, 2016, signed by the Chief Elections Officer, in which their names were published as elected Councillors thereof.
When contacted for a response, Deputy Chief Elections Officer(DCEO), Vishnu Persaud explained that the PPP had submitted a list which did not include the names of the two councillors, however, this was subsequently changed to include the names of Saheed Khan and Ravi Chandra Rickhee.
However, the DCEO clarified that legally, GECOM is only responsible for gazzetting the information, which it has done in both instances.
Persaud said the matter is now beyond the responsibility of the Commission and lies with the Ministry of Communities, to which the Overseer is answerable to.
The DCEO told News Room that from his understanding of the matter, the Overseer “vehemently refused” to swear in the Councillors on the ground that the list she had did not include their names, which would have been the old list submitted by the PPP.