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The recent release of alleged taped telephone conversations between GECOM Chairman Claudette Singh and journalist Mark Benschop provide a critical window into the machinations of the conspiracy that resulted in the coup that placed the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) in power at the end of the General Election in 2020.
Claudette Singh has allegedly expressed various views in the recently released tapes that could lead listeners to believe not only was she aware of the massive rigging of the election, the PPP’s role in the process that contaminated the results, but she was also concerned about the alleged interference of the American Ambassador who according to the tapes, kept calling her and visiting the GECOM office.
It would not be lost on Ms. Singh, a former judge, that denial of the legitimacy of the recordings would not be believed and these recordings could easily be professionally validated. Her willingness to do so as urged by Benschop would obviously be watched by the public.
While some may argue the alleged conversations are private and ought not to have been released, the policy interest of revelation of the deceit and deception that guided the recent election far outweigh privacy interests.
In any functioning democracy, the allegations against Ms. Singh would be considered serious enough to have occasioned her voluntarily resignation or being asked to. The alleged conversations also suggest malfeasance in public office.
Another consideration that emerges from these revelations is Ms. Singh’s alleged abandonment of her constitutional remit. By entering into an alleged dubious agreement with Granger brokered with the CARICOM Chair there resulted a range of legal challenges. As a result, Guyanese citizens have had to contend with what is arguably the rewriting of the election laws of Guyana by the CCJ in the absence of Ms. Singh’s clear decisive action in response to the revelations of fraud. This allowed the process to devolve into chaos when she had the clear authority to act on the evidence of massive rigging and dysfunction in the process.
The alleged ignominious revelations, some would argue, could shine a light not only on her professional competence or lack thereof, in public office, but raise questions of personal integrity.
The Chair’s refusal to allow an inquiry into the functioning of GECOM during the election has left a void in our effort to seek accountability in our national institutions. Unfortunately, the kangaroo Commission of Inquiry will ultimately fail as it is undoubtedly a politically directed quasi-judicial process with clearly required outcomes designed by the authors of this COI strategy.
There is nothing but more shame to be poured on the veritable democratic institutions of this country as the PPP moves forward with the ultimate goal of finding permanent evil on the other side rather than seeking to fix the dysfunctional institutional framework of the country.
Justice Claudette Singh is facing a credibility crisis and cannot ignore growing perceptions that her alleged actions are effectively gas lighting the nation. Arguably, hers has been the worst performance of a GECOM Chairperson in the history of Guyana’s elections.
Mounting calls for her to demit office would only increase with the release of the tapes that is purportedly her voice and evident WhatsApp engagement between herself and Benschop. These also serve to further undermine the citizens’ confidence in the electoral process. Ms. Singh should just do the decent thing and pack her things and go now.