The Chairman and two members of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the 2020 General and Regional Elections took their oath of office today before the Chief Magistrate at the Office of the President.
Retired Trinidad and Tobago Judge, Stanley John is serving as the Chairman of the Commission.
The other two members of the Commission who took the oath of office this morning were retired Acting Chancellor of the Judiciary of Guyana, Justice Carl Singh and former Acting Justice of Appeal in the Eastern Caribbean, Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith.
Originally, the President had named a four-member team. There was no mention of his fourth nominee, Dr S. Y. Quraishi of India today.
The three members who took the oath of office are expected to begin their work immediately. The President has already appointed two other persons to assist the Commission with its work including research.
The terms of reference of the Commission of Inquiry have not been made public.
However, at today’s swearing-in, the Head of Protocol at the Office of the President, Francis Abraham explained that the Presidential Inquiry will look at certain events connected with and being part of the regional and general elections of Guyana and will be for the public welfare.
President Irfaan Ali was not present at the swearing-in ceremony, but on the side-line of the event, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall said the COI’s Terms of Reference (TOR) will be made public soon.
On the margins of the National Toshaos Conference last July, President Ali had said that the TOR “must be in keeping with all the issues surrounding the March 2020 polls.”
The 2020 Elections, which spanned a period of five months and were consumed by a series of legal battles from the High Court right up to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), were marred by allegations of electoral fraud.
Both of the major political parties – the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) and the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) accused each other of electoral fraud.
A National Recount of the votes cast at the elections saw the PPP/C unseating APNU+AFC government.
The APNU+AFC Coalition has challenged the results of the elections, and has since filed two election petitions.
Last week, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), on the request of the Attorney General, agreed to release the evidence supplied by the APNU+AFC, which reportedly supports its claims of electoral fraud. However, it is the intention of the AG to verify the authenticity of the claims made by the coalition
Ahead of the Presidential Commission, the Opposition nominated Election Commissioners had proposed that GECOM conducts a full review of the last elections, but the proposal was shut down by the Chairman Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh and the three Government nominated Elections Commissioners.
The Commission will be expected to examine the work of the Guyana Elections Commission during the 2020 elections and the claims by the main political parties of alleged fraud and alleged rigging.