Opposition Leader Joe Harmon today accused the PPP Civic government and some elements in the Guyana Police Force of being part of plot to dismantle the current make-up of the Guyana Elections Commission.
At his weekly press conference, Mr. Harmon drew attention to the number of GECOM staffers who have been questioned and charged on allegations of electoral fraud. He said it is even more worrying that it appears that only staffers of one particular ethnic group are facing the Police and the Courts.
“Since August 2nd 2020 we have seen the Guyana Police Force detaining and breaching the constitutional rights of a number of Guyanese and in particular several employees of GECOM on the basis of trumped up charges and baseless accusations and investigations. We have seen clear discriminatory practises in this regard with Afro-Guyanese being targeted and persecuted by the Guyana Police Force”, Mr Harmon said.
Mr. Harmon said in many instances, the persons arrested would be held beyond the constitutional period for holding a suspect and there have also been complaints of some of them being refused access to their Attorneys.
He said at least two current Government Ministers however, were allowed access to GECOM officials being questioned in an attempt to coerce them to answer cerrtain questions.
“What is even worse is that we have seen ministers of government injecting themselves and directing the police. At least two ministers, Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn and Minister Charles Ramson Jr have been reported to have been in contact, intimidating, threatening and coercing persons who have been detained. This is illegal and unconstitutional and calls into question the motive, opportunity and means of the Guyana Police Force in dismantling an agency that is protected by the Constitution”, Harmon noted.
At least five GECOM officials, senior and junior, have faced the Courts in the past two months on allegations of misconduct in public office and election fraud. At least two members of the main Opposition APNU+AFC have also found themselves facing questioning by the Police.
The Opposition Leader today said the charges are all trumped up and there is no interest by the Police in conducting a fair probe.
He said “these are clear instances of political persecution and victimization of the Afro-Guyanese staff members of GECOM which constitute an attempt to dismantle GECOM and render it ineffective from being able to hold credible elections. It is an assault on democracy and can cause irreparable damage to the fundamental basis of our country. I wish to note that not a single one of the Presiding Officers and other GECOM officers responsible for the missing poll books, ballot papers and other polling documents have been even questioned, let alone detained by the police. This is not an investigation, it is a campaign of intimidation, bullyism and psychological warfare by the Police and the PPP.”
Harmon also accused the GECOM Chairman, Justice Claudette Singh of being complicit in all that has been happening with officers under a Commission that she is heading.
“I am advised from a letter I saw in the press from Commissioners of GECOM that the Crime Chief, Mr. Blanhum had written to the Chairman of GECOM requesting certain documents from GECOM which are under the jurisdiction of the Chief Elections Officers and that it appears upon that communication, documents were released to the Police It is no wonder that the Chairman of the Elections Commission has not raised her voice in concern for the welfare of these officers who worked with her. The only conclusion that can be derived is that the Chairman is at worst complicit and at best a part of the PPP’s plot to dismantle the current GECOM. Madame Chairman you are leaving a tattered legacy and should resign before it gets worse”.
In a statement today, the GECOM Chair denied the allegations that she has been sharing documents relating to the workers with the Police. Justice Claudette Singh said requests were made by the Police but the only information shared was the job title of those questioned.