Ali says will establish CoI next week to probe rigging of 2020 elections
President Dr Irfaan Ali has committed to appointing members to sit on the International Commission of Inquiry (CoI) by next week Tuesday to probe attempts to rig the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections and the events that unfolded in the five months after.
“We, and particularly your President, promised an international CoI, so I say to all those who struggled and sacrificed, all those who worked in protecting the democracy, that we have, in your honour, before dawn on next Tuesday, your President will name the members of that international CoI,” the Head of State announced during his address at the 74th anniversary of the Enmore Martyrs held at Enmore, East Coast Demerara.
“Those who subverted democracy, those who cannot present their SOPs, and those who struggled against the will of the people, the CoI will set the truth free from the untruth and the CoI will set those who dwell in the house of democracy and those who dwell in the fire of undemocratic rule and norms,” President Ali emphasised.
He explained that the CoI is particularly important to honour the sugar workers, Rambarran, Lall known as Pooran, Lallabagee Kissoon, Surujballi and Harry who were fatally shot by Colonial State’s agents in 1948 during the struggle for better lives and working conditions.
“In honour of the these martyrs too and in honour of all the Guyanese who fought for freedom and democracy, who fought relentlessly in those five months to ensure our country never ever was allowed to go down as an undemocratic nation, in honour of your sacrifices, I committed that we will have an international CoI into the last elections,” President Ali stated.
Just after he was declared President on August 2, 2020 and in subsequent statements, President Ali promised the inquiry into the attempts to rig the elections to keep the Coalition APNU+AFC in office and deny the PPP/C victory.
The CoI will also investigate the weaknesses in Guyana’s electoral systems and produce recommendations to fix the system.
Through the CoI, persons who attempted to obstruct democracy and the will of the people, will be held accountable.
Three former employees of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) – former Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield; Deputy Chief Elections Officer, Roxanne Myers and District Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo are all before the courts facing charges related to electoral fraud.
Other employees of GECOM are also before the courts. The 2020 elections were marred by controversy after officials from GECOM, with the support of APNU+AFC, attempted to change the results in favour of the coalition.
One of the fraudulent declarations carried the signature of former Health Minister and APNU Executive Volda Lawrence.
Lawerence is now a Member of Parliament and she too has been charged in relation to the attempts of rigging.
The attempts at rigging included numerous court cases by the APNU+AFC to delay the announcement of the results and a tough five-month recount process which proved that the PPP/C won the elections by 15,416 votes.