Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield in a missive this afternoon informed the Private Sector Commission (PSC) that its request for house-to-house registration to be discontinued is not one which will be forthcoming.
Chairman of the PSC, Captain Gerry Gouveia had written Lowenfield over the weekend calling for registration exercise to be suspended while accusing the Elections Commission of being involved in an illegal process. The letter also accused the Elections Commission of taking an “extreme and dangerous” action that cannot be justified.
In response, the CEO made it clear that the decision to commence house-to-house registration is one which is in keeping with GECOM’s legal responsibilities, and supported by the Commission’s Legal Officer, Excellence Dazzell.
Lowenfield said when he sought advice from the Legal Officer on the way forward, he was informed that the decision made to move ahead with the registration was within the ambits of the law.
Dazzell, in her response to Lowenfield had reasoned that “in light of the judgement of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on 18 June 2019, which stated that the process by which Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission was appointed was flawed, every act done by that Chairman after 18 June 2019 would be void. However, acts done before 18 June 2019 would be valid since those acts would have been done on the premise that the appointment was bona fide” the Attorney noted.
The CCJ had ruled that the appointment of the former Chairman, (rtd.) Justice James Patterson, was one which was unconstitutional.
Against this backdrop, the CEO said that until there is a duly constituted Commission, “House-to-House Registration will continue”.
President David Granger and Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo are currently in talks to identify and appoint a Chairman for the elections regulatory body.
Lowenfield also sought to set the record straight on several accusations made by the PSC.
He denounced the alleged attempt by Gouveia to give the impression that he (Lowenfield) has been avoiding meeting with the PSC. In response, the CEO revealed that he was never in receipt of a request for any meeting with the private sector body.
“I have never received any such request for meetings. I have noted that all previous requests for meetings were directed to the Chairman of the Commission. You should produce the evidence of your meeting requests and proof of delivery to my office” Lowenfield charged.
Lowenfield also dismissed the allegation of him not having a consultative approach, by reminding the PSC that in May of this year, the Opposition PPP walked out of a stakeholder’s meeting on house-to-house registration, arguing that they (the party) were not in agreement with the exercise.
As such, the CEO ended by saying that: “it is my firm belief that the PSC should consider the facts on the operationalization of this exercise and direct any further advocacy to the Commission when properly constituted”