No elections report from Lowenfield; says he wants ‘further guidance’
Chief Elections Officer of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Keith Lowenfield on Friday failed to submit his elections report as directed by the Chairman using certified figures of the national vote recount.
He has since asked the Chair to provide further guidance as to whether she wants a report premised on Section 18 of the Election Laws or on Article 177 (2) (b) of the Constitution.
Lowenfield was instructed to submit his report by 2pm Friday but has since chosen to respond to the Chairman Justice (rt’d) Claudette Singh instead.
He said in his response, “the historic practice of submission of the elections report to the Commission has been premised on ascertainment of the result by the Chief Election Officer. The structure of your missive suggests a change in operational procedures and further the two citations appear dissimilar.
“In this regard, clear guidance is required with respect to whether the report being requested is premised on Section 18 of the Election Laws or on Article 177 (2) (b) of the Constitution.”
Section 18 of the Election Laws state that the Chief Election Officer and the Commissioner of Registration shall notwithstanding anything in any written law be subject to the direction and control of the Commission.
Justice Singh was clear in her letter to Lowenfield that he is subject to the control and direction of the Commission.
Article 177 (2) (b) of the Constitution states “a Presidential Candidate shall be deemed to have been elected President and shall be so declared by the Chairman of the Elections Commission
“(b) Where there are two or more Presidential Candidates, if more votes are cast in favour of the list in which he is designated as Presidential Candidate than in favour of any other list.”
Lowenfield also wants guidance on how Section 96 (1) of the Representation of the People’s Act could be properly operationalized.
“Of particular relevance are two facts:
1) that the election laws envisages that “the votes counted, and information furnished” would be provided by statutory officers and
2) the allocation of seats is premised on the statutory report of the Returning Officers. It is noteworthy that the CCJ clearly stated in paragraph 37 that “the allocation of seats in the National Assembly and the identification of the successful Presidential candidate are determined on the sole basis of votes counted and information furnished by Returning Officers under the Representation of the People Act. As you are aware, the National Recount was not undertaken by Returning Officers,” Lowenfield said in his letter to the Chairman.
The Commission is currently meeting to discuss the matter.