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Local Government Elections are due next year. His Excellency the President has publicly committed to the holding of these Elections, but the President is subject to the advice of the Chairman of the Elections Commission, Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh, as to whether or when GECOM will be prepared to hold these Elections.
Senior officials of GECOM, including the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, and District 4 Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo, and a number of other officials assisting these officers and an Information Technology Officer, are charged before the Courts with “misconduct in public office”. Nevertheless, as far as we know, none of these officers have been dismissed from their employment with GECOM, nor have they been suspended from duty.
It is unthinkable and certainly unacceptable that GECOM should proceed to conduct Local Government Elections while these officers remain employed and involved in the conducting of these elections.
We have heard nothing from the Chairman of GECOM since 2nd August, 2020, with regard to any action being taken with regard to GECOM’s preparedness to hold Local Government Elections.
While we have heard nothing officially from the Office of the President, it is more than probable that President Ali has already enquired of the GECOM Chairman as to the readiness of GEOCOM to hold these Elections. Sufficient time has passed since the PPP/C government has taken office for the public to be told what is going on in GECOM.
It cannot be that the Chairman of GECOM is refusing to take action to clean up the Commission based on the excuse that the APNU/AFC have filed an Election Petition before the Courts. Local Government Elections are likely to be due to be held long before the Petition will be heard to finality. The Election Petition cannot be used as a means of delaying or postponing GECOM’s preparedness to hold an election.
Our country, since 2nd August, 2020, has already begun to progress and prosper from the political stability in place and the obvious progress being made from a whole host of new development expenditure, private and public, immediately on the horizon in spite of the continuing challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It would be a hugely regressive step, therefore, if the failure of GECOM to properly prepare itself to hold Local Government Elections when they become due, would result in our country, once more, being made to suffer under the threat of further political instability.
The Private Sector Commission, therefore, wishes to urge upon the Chairman of the Elections Commission to speak out and speak plainly about the action being taken to put right all that has gone wrong in GECOM and to do it quickly.