GECOM Commissioners should not be paid for walking out of meetings- Lincoln Lewis

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By Bibi Khatoon

The Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) is lobbying for Opposition nominated Commissioners of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to not be paid following months of walking out of statutory meetings.

“If GECOM can’t work and the Commissioners brukking [breaking] up meeting and walking out, then don’t pay those people,” General Secretary of the GTUC Lincoln Lewis said during his address to workers and members of the Government and Opposition at Wednesday’s Labour Day event at the National Park.

He noted that leaders, including members of the National Assembly, owe it to the people to conduct the business of the electorate.

They “must not be paid because the people that we represent, when they ain’t go to work, they say they strike [and] they don’t get pay,” Lewis said.

In an invited comment, Opposition nominated Commissioner Sase Gunraj expressed his disagreement with the suggestion.

“I have presented myself to every meeting that GECOM has summoned,” Gunraj told News Room.

Gunraj, who is an Attorney by profession, explained that at each of those meetings, he attempted to make contributions in keeping with his constitutional duty.

“It is not my fault that the Chair [of GECOM- Justice ret’d James Patterson] and other Commissioners have colluded to deny me that opportunity.”

Gunraj further noted that walking out of the meetings is not against his constitutional duty at the Commission.

Tuesday marked approximately six weeks since the three Opposition Commissioners, including Bibi Shadick and Robeson Benn, have been walking out of GECOM’s weekly statutory meetings in protest of the Commission’s decision to move ahead with its house-to-house registration exercise.

The Commissioners are required to provide oversight of the elections body. Their duties include the perusing of the reports on the works of the Commission and interviewing staff to fill vacancies among others.

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