Elections COI in search of witnesses to testify
The Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the March 02, 2020 regional and general elections is currently inviting persons with knowledge about what transpired during the elections period to step forward and testify.
“We put a notice to invite the public because we won’t know who would have knowledge. We’re inviting the public, whoever has knowledge about anything to do with the elections,” Secretary to the Commission, Javed Shadick told the News Room during a telephone conversation on Tuesday.
The Commission has published a notice in the local newspapers inviting the public at large, however, there have not been any responses.
“From tomorrow [Wednesday] we’ll increase the number of days and the number of newspapers that will be carrying the notice so hopefully we reach a broader section of the society,” Shadick said.
He reminded that under the Commissions of Inquiry Act; Chapter 19:03, the Commission has the right to summon a person who may have an interest in the matter to testify.
“There are persons who worked in the entire elections process. You have persons who would have been on the former administration side; there are persons who will have an interest or you would know that they had an interest,” he said.
Hearings for the Commission of Inquiry will commence early in November and will take the format of a court. Witnesses will present evidence before the Commissioners who will also ask questions.
The commissioners who will lead the inquiry into the events of the 2020 regional and general elections were sworn in on September 13, 2022.
They are Justice of the Appeal (retired) of Turks and Caicos, Stanley John, the chairman of the commission; former Chancellor of the Judiciary (Guyana), Carl Singh and High Court Judge (Belize) and former Justice of Appeal (ag) in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, Godfrey P. Smith.
Based on the Terms of Reference for the elections Commission of Inquiry (CoI), published in the Official Gazette, the Commissioners shall inquire into the circumstances, events and procedures before, during and after the 2020 elections in Guyana.
When public hearings start next month, the Commission has six months to assess the evidence and write its report which will be handed over to President Dr. Irfaan Ali.
In addition to investigating the events of the five-month protracted elections, the CoI will also examine the weaknesses in Guyana’s electoral systems and produce recommendations to fix the system.
During an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI), Administrator of the Commission of Inquiry Colonel Ronald Hercules said that the Secretariat’s 95 Middle Street, Georgetown office is almost prepared and staff has been hired.
Persons with or seeking information may contact the secretariat on 231 9820 and 231 9828 or visit their 95 Middle Street office.