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President Irfaan Ali on Thursday announced that next week Tuesday he will be naming the persons to sit on an international Commission of Inquiry into the 2020 General and Regional elections.
Ali made the announcement during address at the Enmore Martyrs Commemoration Ceremony. “In honour of these martyrs and all Guyanese who fought relentlessly to ensure that our country did not go down as an undemocratic state…we will have an international CoI into the last elections. Not a review….we promise, particularly your President promise a CoI and I say to say to all of you before dawn on Tuesday, your President will name the members of that CoI and those who sought to subvert democracy… the COI will set the truth from the untruth…” Ali told the gathering.
Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo only on Wednesday told members of the media that he believes the decision by the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission to not allow the review is the right one. He said for such a review to take place, persons no longer in the employ of GECOM and who are before the Court for alleged wrongdoings would be relied on for information. Jagdeo said he believes that the matters which face the Elections Commission can be accommodated in the amendment to the Representation of the People’s Act. “It’s nonsense, it’s before the court now. And then they are trying to link this review with support for the amendment for the Representation of the People’s Act. Now clearly they don’t want the Representation of the People Act to be amended even after going through a public process and everybody recognizes now that we have to put arrangements in place in the Act to avoid some of the things we have had,” Mr. Jagdeo said.
The Kaieteur News reported recently that Jagdeo had told a news conference that the government actually wanted to conduct the CoI, but ran into some difficulty when court cases were filed against “key figures.” He explained then, according to the Kaieteur News that the government was advised by “a lot of people” that those charged for election skullduggery would not want to participate in the CoI by claiming that their responses would incriminate them in court. He said that those charged for the 2020 events are some of the central figures in any COI. “And when they are charged, as their defense, they will say I don’t want to appear at the COI, [that] whatever I say there will incriminate me in the court case. So, you may lose the key figures that are in charge of the rigging…,” Jagdeo opined. He submitted that since the possibility of non-participation or non-corporation by the “key figures” exists, it is the government’s rationale for not holding the CoI.