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Trade unionist Lincoln Lewis, and criminologist, owner of 107.1 FM and host of ‘Straight Up’ programme, Mark Benschop are calling on the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to break the agency’s silence in light of mounting evidence of electoral irregularities related to the Local Government Elections. Since Nomination Day, Monday April 17 information coming to the public attention has given rise to concern GECOM would be able to run a credible election on June 12, 2023.
Lewis in an invited comment with Village Voice News (VVN) said GECOM should by now have called a press conference and address the cases of irregularities. “every day additional information is being made public and GECOM cannot pretend it is unaware.”
The trade unionist said what has been unfolding should be handed over to the police to do an investigation. Forgery is a criminal matter and the police must be allowed to do its job.
“GECOM is not authorised to deal with fraud, that is the job of the police. Moreso, GECOM is not the personal property of the Chair and Commissioner, the agency belongs to the people of this country and if allegations of fraud have been named in the process of GECOM executing its task, then the police must be called in.”
Going further, the trade unionist said, any refusal to hand these matters over to the police must be seen as the Chair and Commissioners being accomplice to allegations of illegality.
The trade unionist said the right to vote is sacred and in the fight to secure this right many have died. This nation is owed an explanation and it would be foolhardy to ask voters to participate in a process that is compromised. “You cannot expect a good outcome from a bad process,” he stated
Benschop told VVN it is a crying shame GECOM Chairperson Claudette Singh S.C has not said a word. “Is she hiding or afraid to face the people?” Local Government Elections is no less important than the General and Regional Elections said Benschop and the scandal for the 2020 experience is manifested “1000-fold”
The talk show host said he is joining with others in calling from the resignation of the Chair. According to him, Singh should not only resign but also apologize to the Guyanese people for the 2020 Elections fiasco and the 2023 that she is silently allowing to happen.
The majority of Guyanese, he said, no longer has confidence in Singh and the key stakeholders, including diplomatic representatives of the ABC countries in Guyana should not appear to be facilitating or condoning the conduct of the controversial chairperson. “The majority of Guyanese have no confidence in the head of GECOM to deliver free, fair and credible elections.”
Benschop has accused Singh of “hijacking GECOM and hiring a bunch of known PPP puppet whose interest is not that of Guyana but purely self-serving and unpatriotic.”