Former AFC Exec warns Govt not to stall for time

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first_img– says GECOM must provide timely election preparedness update– urges coalition to put its fate in the hands of the electorateA former Alliance For Change (AFC) executive has called out the authorities for seemingly stalling for time, noting that at a time when everything should be in elections mode, the Administration has fallen into a ‘go slow’ mode.Former AFC Executive Sase SinghAccording to economist Sasenarine Singh, at the time appearing on a broadcast ‘town hall’ panel discussion, there is a real risk that Government’s stalling tactics could see them slipping into illegitimacy after March 2019 – that is, if there are no elections and an agreement to extend the deadline is not reached by the National Assembly.As per an agreement reached by President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo during a recent meeting, their respective Chief Whips – the Government’s Amna Ally and the Opposition’s Gail Teixeira, were supposed to meet Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) officials last week to enquire into their preparations for elections.“The Chief Elections Officer (Keith Lowenfield) has told them (Chief Whips) I would like to meet you, but I can’t meet you unless my boss authorises me to meet you guys. So where is the boss? The boss is the Chairman of GECOM and he’s missing in action too. He’s on extended sick leave,” Singh said.“So it seems as though the whole Administration is on a go slow. And this is the challenge. The Government’s role is to move things forward. In this case, what we are seeing is the Government opposing itself and really stalling on itself. And it’s making the whole national conversation into a joke. It is critical that the Government stop behaving immature.”Singh also reminded that as an entity that receives billions in taxpayers’ money, it is accountable to the people. As such, Singh noted the importance of GECOM’s accountability with less than 90 days left before elections are constitutionally due.“The reality is a decision was made by the majority. Accept your fate, put yourself in the hands of the electorate, because they are the ones who put you in authority. Let the people decide what they want. It’s their country. We have to work together … GECOM will need a framework to deliver on these elections.”“Fortunately, for GECOM, they’ve just come out of local Government Elections, which meant the machinery has proven it works. So it just needs tinkering and some level of expansion and it will be ready. So they don’t need a long time. But GECOM is so anaemic in its communication, they have not even prescribed to the nation what their roadmap is.”While Lowenfield diverted the two Chief Whips to his ailing boss, Teixeira in an interview with Guyana Times had said that a meeting with Lowenfield would probably have been better, since a number of technical matters would have been dealt with.“Lowenfield thought it appropriate we write the Chairman first and get a meeting set up. That’s what (Chief Whip Amna Ally) did as a result. We haven’t gotten a response yet. My view was that this is a technical issue and (we should) get the technical areas from Lowenfield and his secretariat and the operational preparedness,” Teixeira had said.Meanwhile, Ally, in an interview with the State media, stated that Lowenfield did not have a difficulty in meeting with them. But, nevertheless, he still requested that they seek out Patterson.“This, I did, speedily yesterday (Thursday) afternoon and the letter has been dispatched to the Chairman of the Elections Commission as well as the Chief Elections Officer, requesting a meeting to have us briefed on the matter of GECOM’s preparedness for elections,” Ally was quoted as saying.GECOM Chairman, retired Justice James Patterson was recovering after being hospitalised last month and was expected to return to GECOM last Tuesday to host a statutory meeting. That very day, however, the Commission revealed that Patterson did not return as scheduled and in fact, had received an extension of his medical leave.last_img read more