Jagdeo concerned that int’l oversight not yet in place at GECOM

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Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday urged that the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) make an urgent decision to put in place an independent, international oversight team at the Commission’s High Street, Georgetown headquarters.

He said this was necessary to preserve the integrity of the electoral system ahead of general and regional elections on March 02. He was speaking at a press conference at his Church Street, Georgetown office.

Jagdeo said he would have thought that by now the chair would have ensured that a decision was made for an international presence at the Secretariat. He said this would serve as a “quality control mechanism” to ensure that nobody tampers with the list.

Jagdeo said that at the time Justice Claudette Singh was appointed as chair of GECOM, she did so with “enormous goodwill on the part of all Guyanese.”

As such, Jagdeo said Justice Singh has a special role to play in allaying concerns that within GECOM there is a process that could lead to the disenfranchisement of Guyanese or a process that would tamper with the results of the elections.

Justice Claudette Singh, S.C., C.C.H.

“That assurance has to come from the chair herself,” Jagdeo stated.

He said too that Justice Singh needs to provide “clarity” after every statutory meeting of the Commission on the decisions made instead of having the Commissioners from both sides giving this views.

“Going forward, we need that clarity to avoid confusion among people or disquiet.

“The public must constantly be educated,” Jagdeo added.

Jagdeo said GECOM has become “almost like a political machinery” and Justice Singh must be vigilant.

“I believe that Justice Singh served the country well as judge and I continue to believe she has great integrity.

“What I believe is that she has to understand that this is not the court when you’re a judge and you make a decision, you expect people…to faithfully carry out the decision or ruling,” Jagdeo stated.

“…you (Justice Singh) have to get into the technical details of what is being discussed and also stay on top of what is being issued by GECOM to see that that it faithfully represents the views of the organisaton and not individuals…

“She has to have oversight over all these things and then of course to try to get an independent group that has no stake in the elections to be advisory to her in the Commission (to be) a third set of eyes.

“I would have expected her to embrace this swifter, that doesn’t mean I am questioning her integrity,” Jagdeo stated.

He said he thinks that there is a “constant a stream of bad advice” going to the chairman.

“She should be bit more affirmative and stronger, but it is not an integrity question,” Jagdeo stated.

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