Dear Editor
BY now, the nation has become accustomed to attacks of a purely political nature being levelled against the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). Emanating from a certain political direction, these attacks fit a particular pattern, since the May 2015 polls, of seeking to interfere with the legitimacy of the nation’s premier electoral body and its legal process which is grounded in its constitutional protection.

It has to be a rare example of the greatest contradiction, that a nation’s constitutional body charged with the critical undertaking of ensuring free and fair elections, that has worked overtime, even beyond the call of national duty, in ensuring that it effects mechanisms in achieving this ideal, continues to face all manner of accusations that questions its competency; impartiality, and leadership.

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We dare emphasise, that in many jurisdictions, electoral bodies have been seen through the eyes of great suspicion, being accused of all manner of acts of subterfuge, especially those of the nature of particularly favouring the incumbency. And we have seen further, what such latter distrust has cost, in terms of social stress.

It would seem that there are those who do not understand the meaning of constitutional protection, with regard to the functioning of state bodies; more so, one as critical to the upholding of the democratic process as GECOM is. Further, for them, constitutional democracy is to pay lip service, while interfering through overt and covert means in the procedures designed to deliver electoral results that are not only transparent, but which can also withstand scrutiny, from any quarter.

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These attempts, in their various devious covers, are designed to strangle the democratic process, of which GECOM is custodian of its seminal tenet – freedom of the democratic will, and the inherent right to express this right by way of the casting of one’s vote. Therefore, it is incontestable that any attempt from whichever quarter, seen as interfering with this process, constitutes an attempt to impede, derail, and finally throttle the entire process, of which GECOM is its pivot.

It further explains why there is an entirely different understanding as to the manner of this critical centrepiece of democracy, in the post-May 2015 DISPENSATION of the David Granger administration. It must be to the full credit of the President that he has taken the lead in championing the unchallenged right of GECOM to discharge its administrative functions of its constitutional responsibility in an independent manner. He has set the example, for the respect and independence of this constitutional body. There should be reason why the leader of the political opposition cannot do the same.

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Complaining about every conceivable measure which the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) puts in place which will ensure a national franchise that is above board. An exercise that satisfies all criteria of a democratic state in such an important matter of there being no impediment to citizens selecting a government of their free choice, is deviously meant to create social strife, with the government being slandered as responsible. It is the kind of dangerous politics which the leader of the opposition has been offloading, without due care or concern as to its possible consequences.

Ad nauseam, this imminent constitutional process is ENTIRELY GECOM’s responsibility. Therefore, it must be allowed to do what is necessary to satisfy not only the constitution, but the conscience of the entire nation – not any single citizen or political party and its leader, but ALL who are qualified to cast their ballot on March 02.

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And even if among the measures in delivering free, fair and credible elections, it means the reduction of the number of private residences formerly used as polling stations, in whichever constituency – so let it be. For any reasonable and rational, thinking citizen will subscribe to the view that private residences as places of poll would be fraught with all the possibilities for serious electoral mischief. The fact that their numbers have been now greatly reduced points to evidence of unnatural acts having occurred in the past. As far as is known, private residences are not places for such an important exercise as citizens casting their votes in a national election.

The leader of the opposition should be further reminded that the Carter Center, in its report on the May 2015 national and regional elections, had recommended that such circumstance be reduced. Maybe, in rushing to them in the usual deceptive form, the leader of the opposition will be reminded of this fact.
Regards
Earl Hamilton

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