‘GECOM Chair going down slippery slope’ by probing migrant voters – Shuman
A decision by Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Justice (rt’d) Claudette Singh to launch a probe into claims by the incumbent APNU+AFC that persons who reside out of Guyana voted on March 2 continues to be met with much rejection by the political parties with the latest being the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) which accused the Chairman of going down a “slippery slope.”
The letter was sent to the Chief Immigration Officer and is dated March 22 but was only released to the political parties on Sunday, May 31 after APNU+AFC nominated GECOM Commissioner Vincent Alexander made the revelation on Friday, May 29.
The country’s Chief Immigration Officer is the Police Commissioner Leslie James. In the letter addressed to him, Justice Singh attached a list of names that were submitted by the APNU+AFC as persons who migrated but were ticked off as having voted on March 2, 2020.
“In this regard, I shall be grateful if you will be so kind as to cause the Immigration Department to verify whether these persons were out of the country on March 2, 2020. The respective polling division and stations where these persons allegedly voted are also identified on the list.
“The Commission would wish the matter be urgently addressed,” the GECOM Chairman wrote.
The three Opposition nominated Commissioners of GECOM continue to deny that the Chairman informed the Commission of her decision to launch the investigation even though Alexander said it was discussed at a meeting and a “particular” Commissioner asked and received a copy of the letter.
GECOM remains silent on the issue and the Public Relations Officer Yolanda Ward has not addressed the media in over a week while the Secretariat has not hosted a press conference in almost three months.
Political parties claim that GECOM is acting out of its constitutional mandate by investigating these allegations.
Presidential Candidate of the LJP Lenox Shuman on Sunday told reporters that the party is concerned with decision taken by the Chairman.
“We are very very concerned that Madam Chair is going down a very very slippery slope,” Shuman said at the media tent outside the Arthur Chung Conference Center where the national recount of votes is ongoing.
He made reference to the Returning Officer of Region Four, Clairmont Mingo who is accused of inflating the figures in this region to give the coalition a victory in the elections.
“If you’re looking for wrongdoing also, what we have seen in this recount is that Mr Mingo’s numbers were completely flawed, inflated but yet there has been no attempt made to address that issue.
“We’re curious to know if Madam Chair is going to ask the Police to come and conduct a criminal investigation into the conduct of Mr Mingo and whoever else his cohorts maybe,” Shuman said.
No Confidence in Leslie James
Meanwhile, Shuman is concerned that GECOM is asking a Government entity which is headed by APNU+AFC Candidate Winston Felix.
He also accused the Police Commissioner of being biased.
“The elections Commission has asked a Government entity that is contesting these elections to provide evidence that pretty much should verify the information that they themselves are presenting.
“If you look at who the person is that is in charge of Immigrations, it is Winston Felix. He is political operative. Mr Leslie James himself, he has shown a bit of bias in our view.”
When asked if he believes the Top Cop is compromised, Shuman said, “By every action we’ve seen from the Guyana Police Force I think that there are a lot of them that act with integrity, whether the Commissioner of Police is compromised I can say that as a small party or as a new party, we do not have the kind of confidence in his conduct at this point.”