GECOM has no record of changes to the head of The New Movement election list

GECOM has no record of changes to the head of The New Movement election list

As the ongoing controversy continues over refusal by the Leader of The New Movement party to relinquish her Parliamentary seat in keeping with the Joinder Agreement, the issue of who heads the list of The New Movement has taken another twist.

The Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Claudette Singh has been forced to withdraw a letter originally dispatched to ex-TNM Executive Gerald Forde, after it was found that the Elections Commission has no record of TNM submitting documents regarding the change in leadership of the List. Forde is on record as the leader of The New Movement list, and has since called for Dr. Asha Kissoon to be recalled from Parliament.

In the March 18, 2024 letter which has since been withdrawn, the GECOM Chairman told Forde that in November, 2020, the Commission was informed that he was no longer an executive member of TNM, and was replaced as the Representative of the List by Kenrick Morgan.

But days later, the GECOM Chair was forced to withdraw that letter after the Elections Secretariat indicated that it had no record of TNM submitting the required documents to support a change in the leadership of the list.

“The response of the secretariat is that there is no evidence that in March of 2022 those documents were submitted. As a consequence of that response, an earlier dispatch by the Chairperson was withdrawn because there is no basis on which GECOM can say that, that process was undertaken in 2022,” Elections Commissioner Vincent Alexander told News Source today. 

News Source understands that in dispatching the letter to Forde, who had called for an investigation into the matter to be launched, the GECOM Chair had relied heavily on documents provided by TNM’s embattled leader, Dr Asha Kissoon, who is fighting to hold onto the joinder seat in Parliament.

In a letter addressed to the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Vishnu Persaud on March 11, 2024, Dr Kissoon said she had formally informed the former CEO, Keith Lowenfield of the expulsion of Forde, and his Deputy, Josh Khanai from TNM, and their removal as Representative and Deputy Representative of TNM’s List of Candidates.

Attached to that letter were copies of two other letters dated November 16, 2020, that were reportedly sent to the Elections Commission by Dr Kissoon with regards to changes made to the Executive of TNM and Leader of the List.

In those correspondences, Dr Kissoon maintained that Morgan now heads the list. It was Morgan who wrote the Commission and Parliament, asking that Dr Kissoon be extracted from the List to take up the joinder seat in Parliament, and not Forde.

With no record of GECOM ever receiving the required documents, Commissioner Alexander said a grave error may have occurred. 

“Really, the process, is a process outside of GECOM. Suffice to say is that it raises questions about what GECOM in fact did when she [Kissoon] became the parliamentary rep because, the person who signed on that occasion, is not someone from whom GECOM had the relevant documentation, and even in the instance of the submission to March this year of documents purportedly originating in November of 2022, it requires 50% of the candidates to change a rep and there are only nine persons who signed, so there are serious questions about the status of the person who purports to be the rep at this time,” Alexander reasoned. 

Initially, when the issue surfaced, the Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Vishu Persaud, in a letter to the Chairman of GECOM on March 11, 2024, said he had received a letter from the Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir on March 23, 2023 addressed to Morgan in the capacity as Representative of List, and was given assurances by Dr. Kissoon that Morgan was indeed the Representative of the List. 

“I discussed the matter with Dr Kissoon in her capacity as Leader of the TNM. During the discussion, Dr Kissoon assured me that Mr Gerald Forde, Representative of the List of TNM, and Dr Josh Khani, Deputy Representative had resigned from this party. Further Dr Kissoon informed that Mr Kenrick Morgan was appointed as Representative of the List…,” a section of the CEO’s letter read.

He would later inform the Commission that the Secretariat had no supporting document. 

When contacted by News Source, the Chief Elections Officer said the issue was engaging the attention of the Elections Commission and he was unable to provide a further comment on the matter. 

The Commission has not met in two weeks. 

In the absence of a definitive response from GECOM on the matter, Forde has written the Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir asking that Dr Kissoon be recalled from Parliament. 

Kissoon has refused to resign from Parliament in keeping with the Joinder Parties agreement, to make way for the representative of A New and United Guyana to take up the parliamentary seat.

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