Not just salaries, all election COI expenses will be made public – Nandlall assures

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One week after a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) was officially appointed to probe the events of the 2020 general and regional elections and against calls for their salaries to be made public, Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC, has committed to ensuring that not only the salaries but every expense incurred during the inquiry will be publicised.

Nandlall was directly responding to Opposition Parliamentarian Ganesh Mahipaul who has since written to Commissioner of Information (retired) Justice Charles Ramson, SC, asking for information on the remuneration packages for the three commissioners and two resource personnel.

There has been no response to that letter dated September 18, 2022 as yet but according to Nandlall, it is unnecessary.

“Every cent of monies expended will be made public because it is public funds.

“What they are worried about is the exposure but the monies will be publicised because it has to be appropriated from Parliament and it will be made public,” Nandlall said during his Tuesday night’s ‘Issues int he News’ commentary on his Facebook page.

Altogether, the Attorney General has cautioned that the CoI will no doubt be an expensive undertaking.

“Yes, it is going to be an expensive undertaking,” Nandlall added while accusing the opposition of being afraid of the exposures anticipated in the coming months.

Key figures from the APNU+AFC Coalition along with senior election officials are before the courts on electoral fraud-related charges.

The then APNU+AFC coalition government is accused of being in consort with former Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield and others at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to fraudulently change the outcome of the elections in favour of the David Granger-led government.

“It must be clear from the beginning that the APNU+AFC will be vehemently opposed to the CoI for obvious reasons. They are mortally afraid of the CoI uncovering the role they played in the various attempts made to alter, in a fraudulent manner, results of March 02 2020 elections.”

Nandlall poured cold water on claims that the CoI will interfere with the opposition’s election petition and other ongoing court cases.

Notwithstanding this pushback and the price tag for the CoI, Nandlall believes it is necessary.

“The CoI is expensive as any CoI staffed with the caliber of commissioners with which this CoI is staffed… such an undertaking is necessary and important and a monetary value cannot be placed on the benefits that are going to be derived from the CoI,” Nandlall reasoned.

According to him, the benefits are to expose those who were part of the rigging cabal which will ensure that appropriate actions are taken.

“Their role and what transpired must be enquired into and put onto the public record of this country so that future generations will know who they are and what role they played or attempted to play in the destruction of this country.”

The Chairman of the CoI Retired Justice of Appeal of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Stanley John (centre), Former Attorney General, High Court Judge and Acting Justice of Appeal in the Eastern Caribbean, Godfrey P. Smith (left) and former Chancellor of the Judiciary (Guyana), Carl Singh (Photo: News Room/ September 13, 2022)

The CoI will also investigate the weaknesses in Guyana’s electoral systems and produce recommendations to fix the system.

On Tuesday last, Justice of the Appeal (retired) of Turks and Caicos, Stanley John; former Chancellor of the Judiciary (Guyana), Carl Singh; High Court Judge (Belize) and former Justice of Appeal (ag) in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, Godfrey P. Smith were sworn into the presidential commission.

Justice John is the chair of the Commission.

Former Chief Election Commissioner of India, Dr S. Y. Quraishi, whose name was previously announced, was not sworn in on Tuesday.

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