Wednesday, October 12, 2011

GECOM votes against the PNC led APNU's attempt to have Returning Officer removed.

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has decided by majority vote not to sack Jaigobin Mohabir as the Returning Officer for Region Four.
The commission last week decided that Mohabir’s appointment would not be revoked. The decision had hinged on Commission Chairman, Steve Surujbally’s vote. A source revealed that he voted to keep Mohabir after reading stacks of a variety of documents and meeting. They included minutes and reports, the Claudette Singh (High Court) ruling and laws governing Statements of Poll.
“After having done all of that, he found that Mohabir had not done anything wrong hence he cannot support the termination of appointment,” the source said. A number of “knowledgeable” persons were also consulted.

The three opposition-associated commissioners voted against keeping Mohabir while those with ties to the governing Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) supported him, resulting in Surujbally having to break the tie.Mohabir’s competence and suitability have been highly regarded by senior managers of the commission. The Commission source, however, noted Jaigobin signed the parallel Statements of Poll out of necessity and acted on the instruction of his superior officers based on a directive by the commission at the time. “The tension at the time was of such that something had to be done to bring the declaration of the results to a closure,” said the source.

It was during the 1997 elections when the PNC instructed 100 of their agents who had managed to infiltrate GECOM and were appointed Returning Offficers in District Four to refuse to sign the Statements of Poll. A decision was taken to write up parallel ones from tally sheets at polling stations, mark them ‘re-do’ and sign them so that the results could have been declared. A forensic audit conducted by Ulric Cross had found nothing wrong statistically with the elections. The High Court had, however, vitiated the elections and this was after the PNC agreed to the use of voter identification cards but subsequently challenged its legitimacy in court.

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