Local Gov’t Elections after GECOM is fixed – President
The next Local Government Elections (LGE) will not be held until the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is returned to a professional body that operates in an unbiased manner, according to President Dr. Irfaan Ali.
“I am not getting into Local Government Elections now.
“…we have to ensure that we have a system that is working, a system that we can trust, a system that is professional, a system that operates in an unbiased manner so that the people of our country can have confidence,” he said in response to questions from the media on the sidelines of an event at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre on Monday.
The last LGE was held in 2018; as such, the next LGE is due this year.
Addressing the glitches in the system is the only way to avoid future electoral impasse, the President said, referring to the recently concluded March 2 General and Regional Elections which ended on August 2.
“We have to address the system,” he said.
During his inauguration speech on August 8, President Ali announced that his Government will launch a Commission of Inquiry into the March 2 elections to determine what exactly transpired and penalize those who sought to “corrupt the system.”
The team of investigators have not yet been named but Dr. Ali has said they will be drawn from Regional and International bodies; some of which were involved in observing the elections.
“I’m in constant contact with them [Regional and international agents], they understand the urgency also and I am hoping we can get that off the ground very quickly,” he noted.
Though this investigation has not started, several GECOM staff including the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield, Deputy CEO Roxanne Myers and Returning Officer for the controversial District Four Clairmont Mingo are already on electoral fraud charges before the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.
“The CoI and so on will help to highlight issues, weaknesses, challenges, opportunities, threats and in ensuring the system is fixed in the way it should be,” the President stated.
Asked about accusations of him overriding persons’ right to vote, the Head of State said it is a general consensus that the GECOM must be fixed in order to go into any other election.
“I’ve received letters from many, many stakeholders in our country and their call-in those letters and those conversations [is] they don’t want to go through a process they went through in those five months,” he told the media.