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…says cannot interfere into police work
Shortly after being called out for remaining silent while several staff of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) were being dragged before the Court, GECOM Chair, Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh broke her silence stating that contrary to reports, she has not handed over confidential information to the police.
Outside the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court on Friday, where Deputy Chief Elections Officer, Roxanne Myers had just been released on $300,000 bail for charges of alleged misconduct while in Office, GECOM Commissioner, Desmond Trotman said that not only has the GECOM Chair been silent on these matters but she has been feeding the police with information to pursue her staff.
“She seems to have washed her hands of these affairs and is just facilitating the handing over of information and the persecution of members of staff without showing any willingness to take some line of action. The public has to be aware of what is happening, they have to understand that, at GECOM, there is no protection for anybody of a certain ethnic color once it is that that person is in a senior position at GECOM…party to what is happening is the Chair of the Commission because she is facilitating every line of action that the police is taking and claiming that she cannot interfere,” Trotman said.
Further, the Commissioner said that Singh had instructed that documents such as job descriptions be handed over to the police without ascertaining what the documents would be used for and without informing the necessary staff. “She doesn’t feel that she has the obligation to inform the members of staff that the police have requested information on them and that she’s given that information…we have had to insist, at last week’s Commission meeting, that she understand that any request by the police for information on any member of staff, the member of staff must be so informed,” Trotman stressed.
Not long after, the former Chief Justice responded to Trotman in a press statement. The last such public communication of the Chair was on August 2, 2020 when the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) was declared the victor of the 2020 elections.
“I wish to state that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Guyana Police Force had requested the contracts of some members of staff which I reported at a Statutory Meeting of the Commission. After some discussion, I undertook to seek clarity from the CID as to the purpose of the request as these documents are private to GECOM and those members of staff. A response from the CID advised that what in fact was required were their respective Job Descriptions. Considering that this information is public, I instructed the Human Resources Manager to provide Job Descriptions ONLY,” she stated.
Regarding comments of her silence on the arrests and charges laid on several GECOM staff and the ill-treatment of some of the said staff, Justice Singh said: “As Chairperson of GECOM and a former Police Legal Advisor, I do not have the authority to interfere into the work of the Guyana Police Force nor any other Statutory Body and will always ensure that the best interest of the members of staff of GECOM are protected.”
In August, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), in exercise of its legal powers, discontinued private criminal charges filed against the Chairperson for alleged malfeasance in public office by two citizens. However, some public officials pointed out that the same had not been granted to Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield for whom criminal charges were also filed.