Longtime executive of the People’s National Congress and frontrunner for the position of party leader, Aubrey Norton has issued a call for the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission, retired Justice Claudette Singh to be removed from the position.
During one of his recent campaign meetings, Mr. Norton said the Chairman has not been fair in her decision-making at the Elections Commission and can no longer be seen as impartial or independent.
“There can be no free and fair election in Guyana when Claudette Singh continues to show that she is partisan in nature. She was trusted with a job to operate independently. She has failed and when people fail us, we must do everything to see their backs”, Norton said.
Justice Singh was appointed as Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission by former President David Granger after reaching agreement with then Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.
The GECOM Chairman has found herself coming under heavy criticism from the Opposition over a number of her decisions at the Elections Commission, which the Opposition sees as partisan.
She was recently criticised for siding with the Government nominated Commissioners to support the hiring of Vishnu Persaud for the position of Chief Election Officer over the more qualified Jamaican electoral official who was in the running for the job.
Mr. Norton said he is convinced that there was some collusion in the decision to hire Vishnu Persaud for the post of Chief Election Officer.
“The infamous Claudette Singh voted to make Vishnu Persaud Chief Election Officer. We do not believe that the best person got the job. We believe that the appointment was collusion between the Chairman of the Election Commission and the PPP Commissioners to put a PPP hack as Chief Election Officer. We will oppose it and I have said it before, that we have to fight for a new voters list. We now have to fight for a new Chairman and a new Chief Election Officer”, Norton told his party supporters.
Singh has defended her decision to vote for the hiring of Persaud, indicating that his 17 years of service at GECOM saw him gaining needed experience.
Persaud was sworn in as new Chief Election Officer on Tuesday.
For his part, Mr. Persaud has made it clear that he intends to follow the Constitution and the Laws of Guyana as he goes about his job as Chief Election Officer. He has also denied any partisanship.