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…says removal of key officers, amendments to ROPA part of the plot
“Changing Lowenfield or changing Myers will not change the PPP’s reality. All it will do is open the door, the flood gates for greater levels of scampishness,” Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon said on Wednesday, in response to Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo’s call for the two officials at the Elections Commission to be fired.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Jagdeo called on the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to immediately fire Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield and Deputy CEO, Roxanne Myers if it is found that the Statements of Polls (SOPs) Lowenfield recently handed over the Court match the figures coming out of the 2020 General and Regional Elections National Recount.
This is even as the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration is moving to draft amendments to the Representation of the People’s Act (ROPA) to ensure transparency in the count of ballots and penalties for electoral fraud.
Lowenfield and Myers are two of the main staff of GECOM that have been pursued by law enforcement since the declaration of the 2020 Elections in the favour of the PPP/C.
However, Harmon, in a response to questions from the media on Wednesday, said that what the PPP/C aims to do in removing Lowenfield and Myers is to set the stage for interference in coming elections.
“We are not afraid of increases in their sentences and all of that because Jagdeo knows fully well that it’s his people that will be faced by that penalty. He knows that. So, these things do not scare us,” Harmon said.
“What is important, however, Guyanese, is to recognize the indecent haste with which the PPP are trying to dismantle all of the systems of Government in this country that hold people to account. They want to dismantle the Elections Commission and to put in its place their own cronies that can carry out their instructions and so you’ll never again have free and fair elections in this country.”
The Opposition Leader said further that while Jagdeo has presented the position that the PPP/C respects democracy, the party ignored many irregularities during the national recount which brings into question the results of the recent elections.
Some of the issues highlighted by the APNU+AFC Coalition included counterfoils and ballots carrying the same number; ballots for one region cast in another; ballots cast for the dead and persons who have migrated; persons voting without proper identification; persons voting outside of their districts without employment documents; large numbers of improperly stamped ballots at locations where disciplined services members voted; missing poll books; documents from one polling station being found in the ballot boxes of another and ballot boxes with no single statutory documents.
Harmon said: “We the people of Guyana will stand firm against it that Jagdeo or nobody that supports him or this crazy idea that he has that he can change the laws at any time to ensure that the PPP remains in power, that is not going to work. Let him live in his own reality.”
According to the Vice President, the Government is working to draft amendments to the Representation of the People’s Act (ROPA) to ensure transparency in the count of ballots and a clear methodology on how the count should proceed.
He noted that the amendments would also include a range of penalties for electoral fraud and would state how recounts should take place. However, despite the planned changes, the Vice President maintained that “free and fair” elections cannot be had with the presence of Lowenfield and Myers at the Commission.