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…Ramjattan says GECOM chair’s ‘show cause letter’ premature
… says commission should wait outcome of court cases
Leader of the Alliance For Change and Member of Parliament, Khemraj Ramjattan has expressed shock at the chairman of GECOM request for three officials to show cause why they should not be dismissed when charges against them are still pending in the courts.
Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh has written the Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield; the Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO), Roxanne Myers; and the Region Four Returning Officer (RO), Clairmont Mingo to show cause why they should not be dismissed from office. Singh wrote the three GECOM officials on Tuesday, hours after the three People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) nominated Commissioners tabled three motions calling for Lowenfield, Myers and Mingo to be dismissed immediately.
The trio, has been accused of electoral fraud and has since been placed before the court to answer to a number of charges. They have until June 15, 2021 to respond to the Chairman of the Elections Commission.
Appearing on Sherod Duncan’s online programme ‘In the Ring’ Tuesday night Ramjattan said that he is surprised at the development. He said the presumption of innonce has been thrown through the window and it is unfortunate that she has taken this approach. “One is presumed innocent until proven guilty…so this is Premature,” Ramjattan said, adding that the development does not look nice at all.
In the motion against Myers, the PPP/C GECOM commissioners alleged that: “In breach of her functions, duties, responsibilities and obligations, the DCEO aided and abetted the CEO as he failed and or refused and or neglected to ensure due adherence and compliance of the statutory process, to wit, Section 84 of ROPA by Returning Officer for Election
District Number 4, Clairmont Mingo, an election officer under his control and supervision, during the process of adding up the votes recorded in the Statements of Poll for the said district,” Election Commissioner Bibi Shadick said as she laid down her grounds in support of a motion for Myers dismissal.
That motion was seconded by Election Commissioner Manroj Narayan.
On Tuesday afternoon, Opposition-nominated Commissioner Vincent Alexander said it would appear that the PPP/C nominated Commissioners – Sase Gunraj, Bibi Shadick and Manroy Narayan – are putting the cart before the horse.
“This action here is not necessarily the way in which matters of this nature are dealt with; more than often if there are criminal charges brought against someone, administrative action is not taken until the criminal matter is heard, and then the evidence in the criminal matter is used in the administrative matter. Here, quite the opposite is being pushed for where the administrative matter now supersedes the criminal matter,” Alexander reasoned.
He said during the meeting of the Commission on Tuesday, Commissioner Gunraj indicated that there was no need for a hearing, however, the Chairman has since offered the accused a chance to respond to the allegations and the motions. The Commission is scheduled to meet next Tuesday.