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…Harmon tells PSC over calls for GECOM officials to be sacked
….says law should be allowed to take its course
Leader of the Opposition, Joseph Harmon slammed the Private Sector Commission (PSC) over recent calls for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to get rid of the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) and other election officials, ahead of Local Government Election.
In a statement on Saturday, the PSC, while justifying its call, pointed out that the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, and the District 4 Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo are among senior election officials who have been charged before the Courts with “misconduct in public office”.
“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,” the Nicholas Boyer-Deygoo led Commission said.
On Monday, the Opposition Leader described the calls by the Private Sector Commission as “wicked.”
Speaking on behalf of the leading opposition party in the country – the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) – Harmon said the coalition is astonished that the Commission is now openly advocating the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C’s) regime position by calling for the removal of key election officials.
“This is wicked and unacceptable,” Harmon said while condemning the statement issued by the PSC.
He said while the targeted officials are currently before the Courts, it is instructive to note that none of them has been found guilty of electoral fraud.
“It is apposite to remind the Private Sector Commission that the rule of law must prevail and these persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty,” Harmon said.
Harmon said it is also important to note that the National Recount of votes cast at the March 2 General and Regional Elections revealed evidence of widespread fraud on the part of the PPP/C. According to him, the Elections Petitions currently before the Court will confirm that that PPP/C had rigged the elections.
“In the circumstance, the Court should be allowed to do its job and let the law take its course. The Private Sector Commission should therefore restrain itself and stop acting as the mouth piece of the PPP regime. The only mechanism that exists for dealing with irregularities in elections is the election petition,” the Opposition Leader said.
He said the Private Sector Commission cannot and must not pronounce on the conduct of elections. “This should be left to the courts. While we recognize that some members of the Private Sector Commission benefited from favors of the PPP regime, they must curb their misplaced exuberance and stop acting like puppets on a PPP string,” the Opposition Leader said.
Since the PPP/C took Office on August 2, at least nine (9) GECOM officials, including the Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield and the Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO), Roxanne Myershave been arrested, interrogated and in most cases charged based on allegations of fraud alleged to have been committed during the controversial elections.
In addition to Lowenfield and Myers, the others include the Region Four Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo; Duarte Hetsberger; Michelle Miller, Enrique Livan, Shefern February, Carolyn Duncan and Denise Cummings. Former Health Minister and Chairman of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Volda Lawrence was also arrested and charged as well as Carol Joseph – an agent of the APNU+AFC.