Rigged elections will not be tolerated
‘designated’ is now at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and the situation sets a platform for keen following, obviously interesting reporting, and prohibitive response actions where necessary. Sticky and suspicious as it is, it cannot be denied that the strongly objectionable impositions of this APNU/ AFC Coalition are on the forefront.
The methods of the highly controversial and contentiously appointed Chairman Justice James Patterson (retired) justifiably set a platform for continuous examination. This is necessary since from the outset, Granger signaled and now tyrannically imposes an undesired level of thieving suspicion to all opposition political parties and citizens at large. It is the view of many that the undue pressures will not only affect the functionality of the Commission, but the credence of emanating reports.
Recently, Chairman Patterson held a meeting with the appointed GECOM Commissioners. It is sad to report that there were no minutes of the last meeting of the Commissioners for consideration. Information received confirms no consideration of action sheets regarding previous meetings or any other outstanding matters with respect to previous commission decisions at GECOM.
It is quite early, but leaves one to ponder how the Commission would be able to continue its work and engage in future plans if a status report on the activities previously planned were not presented and examined.
As we proceed with caution, it is the view of this column that discussions on vital matters such as audited Financial Statements or the Current and Capital Budget augers well as good starting points in determining what is happening at the Commission. Is it that Patterson already knows and wants to keep such information a secret?
Certainly, the appointed Commissioners and citizens needs to know and be aware of the status.
Meanwhile, a strong call exists from inside and beyond the Secretariat for Commissioners to provide a full report on the financial status and report of the 2016 and 2017 budgetary allocations to the Commission.
It is clear that serious misappropriation of funds was the order of the day, and it is now critical that citizens must be provided with a comprehensive financial status update, in the interest of image and transparency.
Although not forensically conducted, it is known that the Auditor General’s Report pronounces on a number of violations.
The dancing around in the National Assembly and manipulation of the time when the report will be examined, facilitates a delayed approach to one’s determination of, or acceptance of the existing level of organizational diligence, given the Constitutional mandate expected to be delivered.
To engender acceptability of procedures, the general public should be appraised with a compressive report on all tender and procurement matters to ensure that financial prudency and accountability was applied by the agency, or the extent to which violations occurred. For both Current and Capital expenditures, acceptable documentation must be provided for this public organization.
It is of note that this column did highlight for public attention several examples of these issues to the public attention after the last Cycle of Continuous Registration, amongst them the flagrant manipulation of the River and Road transportation claims, which is used as a ‘milking cow’ in treating expenditure at the Commission.
Taxpayers are prepared to struggle and will stand up against all forms of pilfering and corruption at GECOM.
The filling of vacancies and the renewal of contracts at GECOM is a matter of serious concern for this nation. There must be a full investigation into the treatment of this issue during the several Cycles of Continuous Registrations after the 2016 Local Government Elections.
Of significant concern are the extreme expenditures and most importantly, the results of the Continuous Registrations process, which apparently has become high National State Secrets.
It is known that the Commissioners have requested to no avail the results of the Continuous Registrations and the list of people that were employed, the vehicles that were hired and the amount of money spent on ‘special’ meals that were both for GECOM permanent and temporary contracted employees.
So what really is going on at this entity if persons who ought to be part of the decision making body of the Commission are being denied relevant and timely information about its operations?
The Commissioners must be fully involved and into operational mode as preparations for the 2018 Local Government Elections are undertaken.
Further, all and sundry must recognize that the list of advertisements dealing with vacancies, tenders and supplies, as well as the Public Relations work, must be transparently done and exemplary in manner towards the approval of all Guyanese.
It is not for the GECOM boys to live a good life at the expense of the nation with sub- optimal practices.
The time is up for the meet and greet honeymoon and the clean life demanded and the imposed Justice Patterson must be validated with appropriate scrutiny.
All Guyanese, along with the local and international organizations, are looking keenly at what is happening with the electoral process. Let it be known that approaches to facilitate rigged elections WILL NOT be accepted nor tolerated.
Among others, Guyanese deserve the commencement of election preparation with a clean Register of Registrants, as well as a respectable and representative list of electors for GECOM to conduct free and fair elections.
We also advocate for the necessary Elections Reform to complement the process of holding transparent elections in Guyana.
(This article is prepared by Neil Kumar, Mr. S & Mr. A)