No walkouts, only law-based decisions for free, fair and transparent elections- new GECOM Chairman

Newly-appointed Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Retired Justice Claudette Singh on Monday vowed to make decisions based on Guyana’s laws and the constitution, while signaling that she would not tolerate any walkouts from meetings of the seven-member commission.

“I am just that, I can do something good for Guyana. There is one way: in accordance with the law, in accordance with the constitution, nothing else,” said Singh who was preparing to pack up her files and hand them over to the Guyana Police Force where she served as the Police Legal Adviser.

Singh’s declaration that she would stick to the law comes at a time when the High Court is hearing a case by Christopher Ram that concerns the legality and constitutionality of house-to-house registration and whether the now nine-day old exercise would collide constitutionally with the three-month time period within which general elections should be held unless there is two-thirds approved extension by the National Assembly.

Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire has said general and regional administration elections should be held by September 18 in keeping with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruling or at a later date if approved by the House. The opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has so far refused to allow such an extension.

The GECOM Chairperson said she was committed to Guyana having “free, fair and transparent elections.”

Speaking ahead of assuming duty on Tuesday, the GECOM Chair plans to hold separate meetings with the three pro-coalition elections commissioners—Robeson Benn, Sase Gunraj and Bibi Shadick—and their pro-coalition counterparts—Charles Corbin, Vincent Alexander and Desmond Trotman—before a full meeting of the seven-member body.

Justice Singh very early signaled her intolerance for any walkouts from commission meetings as the PPP commissioners had been doing for several months under the then Chairman, Retired Justice James Patterson who resigned after the CCJ said his unilateral appointment by President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo was flawed and unconstitutional.

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