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Chief Election Officer, Keith Lowenfield on Friday maintained that his latest report on the March 2, 2020 was done as per the constitution of Guyana.
“I have noted the contents of an article published in the Friday, June 26, 2020 edition of the Stabroek News under the caption, “Lowenfield report seen as clear act of insubordination.” The source who articulated that position seem to have only read the Constitution in part conveniently and failed to recognise the sections that dictates the functions of the Chief Election Officer,” Lowenfield said in a statement issued by the Guyana Elections Commission Secretariat.
He aid while the Commission makes certain policy decisions and provides guidance to the Chief Election Officer for implementation by the Secretariat, “I have to execute my duties as a Constitutional Officer, particularly in the conduct of Elections.” Lowenfield said the contents of the Stabroek News article suggests that the CEO must only act as the Commission instructs and flout the Constitutional requirements. “At all times, I have acted in conformity with the laws and therefore my action cannot be “seen as clear act of insubordination” as articulated in the ill-informed Stabroek News article,” the CEO stated.
Sections of the diplomatic community here as well as the Caricom Chairman, Mia Mottley have criticized Lowenfield for submitting a report in which he set aside voted that have been deemed invalid by law. Lowenfield on Tuesday utilised the valid votes, as ordered by the Court of Appeal and submitted his Election Report, which shows that the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) won the 2020 General and Regional Elections by more than 5,000 votes. “I have taken note of the guidance of the Court of Appeal in Eslyn David v Chief Elections Officer et al in the preparation of my Report under Section 96 of the Representation of the People Act and providing advice as required by Article 177 (2) (b) of the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana,” the CEO said in the report to the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh.
The CEO’s Report show the APNU+AFC securing 171,825 valid votes while the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) raked in 166, 343 valid votes, followed by A New and United Guyana (ANUG) with 1,776 votes, Change Guyana with 1,517 votes, and Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) with 1,517 votes. The People’s Republican Party (PRP), The Citizenship Initiative (TCI), The New Movement (TNM) and the United Republic Party (UPR) got less than 700 votes each. Together, the Joined Lists comprising ANUG, LJP and TNM, secured a total of 3,348 votes.
Lowenfield also in the Report, noted that there were only 344,508 valid votes cast at the March 2 General and Regional Elections. Some 3,001 votes were rejected, and when taken together with the valid votes cast, Lowenfield records show a total of 347,509 votes. He then allocated 33 seats in the National Assembly to APNU+AFC, 31 to the PPP/C and one seat to the Joinder Lists comprising A New and United Guyana (ANUG), Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) and The New Movement (TNM).
The Opposition, PPP/C has complained bitterly about the report and has even written the chairman of GECOM seeking a withdrawal of the report. At case management conference by the Caribbean Court of Justice on Thursday, the court ruled that it could not undo what the CEO has already done.
Earlier in the day the ruling APNU+AFC Coalition said that the report of the Chief Election Officer on the Recount Exercise is a substantial and should be used as a the basis for declaring as winner of the March 2, 2020 polls. The report by the CEO, the coalition said assessed all the 2,339 ballot boxes and separated those votes that have been deemed invalid based on the laws of Guyana and the gazetted order of the recount. “The APNU+AFC Coalition has iterated its preparedness to abide by the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and the Representation of the People Act which provides for the declaration of the Elections Commission.
The APNU+AFC Coalition calls the public’s attention to the comment of former Judge of the Caribbean Court of Justice Professor Duke Pollard in the Guyana Chronicle newspaper of 11th June 2020 asserting that the Elections Commission is bound to produce credible elections results and that it cannot submit to the country information which lacks integrity: “If the information provided for the outcome is not credible, then the outcome itself could not be credible.” The APNU+AFC Coalition also called on the public to respect the Constitution and laws of Guyana and noted that as directed by the Court of Appeal, GECOM must act, exclusively and only on valid votes cast in the March 2, 2020 elections.