Rigged elec­tions will not be tol­er­ated

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‘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)

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