Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform, Aubrey Norton wants to see major reforms at the Guyana Elections Commission and believes that it’s time for the current Chairman of the Commission, retired Judge Claudette Singh to go.
Speaking at his party’s General Council meeting over the weekend, Mr. Norton said while the Chairman of the Commission is supposed to be independent, the current Chairman is not.
Norton said he recently pointed out to a visiting US Official that when the Chairman votes, she sides with the governing party nominees on the Commission. He referenced the breaking of rules to hire the current Chief Election Officer and the Chairman’s support for the changing of those hiring rules.
“Let me say to you what we raised with the international community. We raised with them the fact that, yes, we have three (3) government commissioners, and yes, we have three (3) opposition commissioners but the Chairman is supposed to be independent and what we are saying is that the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission is not independent. We have noted that she votes on every occasion with the PPP; we have noted that she conspires with them to break the rules to make a Chief Elections Officer who is not qualified for the job. And so she is partisan and our mantra must be (1) a clean voters list and (2) Claudette Singh must go!”
Mr. Norton said the GECOM Chairman will have to go to ensure elections are free and fair in Guyana, adding that elections should not divide the people of Guyana.
“She (Justice Singh) must go to ensure that we have elections that are free and fair. Her presence will not facilitate that. It is our intention to ensure a united Guyana. We do not want elections to divide us again,” Norton noted.
The 2020 elections were marred with allegations of fraud. A number of former officials of the Elections Commission and at least two members of Norton’s party are currently before the Courts facing related charges. They have all denied the accusations.
The coalition since coming out of power in 2020, has maintained that the current voter’s list is bloated and sets the stage for electoral fraud. The party has long said that it is not prepared to participate in another election until the list is cleansed.
GECOM however, has commenced a process of continuous registration, with no word on possible House-to-House registration which the coalition has been calling for.
“It is unfortunate that Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo is worried that we need a clean voters list, let us repeat it – we need and we must get a clean voters list,” Mr. Norton said.
The last House to House registration in Guyana which commenced in 2019 was scrapped following a ruling by Chief Justice Roxanne George. The data generated from that short-lived process was also scrapped.
The General Council Meeting was the first one hosted by the PNC since Norton took over as Leader following his win at the party’s last biennial congress. In his speech, thanked former Party Leader David Granger and the former executive members for their work in the party, noting that their work will be built upon.