Guyana Elections: GECOM’s Lowenfield ‘might have been misquoted’ on voters’ list

  Keith Lowenfield

During a PNC press conference, yesterday, Finance Minister Winston Jordan was reminded that the Government and, by extension, the PNC have staunchly purported that House-to-House Registration is the only process that can produce a credible list for General and Regional Elections. 

Asked whether Lowenfield’s statement changes his opinion, in this regard, and the position of the party, Jordan said, “I believe when Mr. Lowenfield was contacted by certain people, he suggested that he was misquoted.”

The Minister further said that he doesn’t know whether Lowenfield has publicly said that he was misquoted, but that that is for him to say.

Attempts to contact Lowenfield were unsuccessful.

Nevertheless, Jordan continued, “Our position remains… we believe that only House-to-House registration, which has been approved by the independent commission, GECOM – will cleanse the list of an excess of 200,000 there that ought not to be there; provide access for young people coming of age to be on the list and ensure an election where there is a minimal chance of trouble after the results are announced.”

When he made the statement in question, Lowenfield was speaking to reporters outside of the High Court in Georgetown on July 23, 2019, following a statement by Chief Justice, Roxane George, on whether a conservatory order, sought by Attorney-at-Law, Christopher Ram, should be granted, blocking the execution of House-to-House Registration.

Lowenfield was asked whether the expired list is considered ‘bloated’. He responded, “We have a list that was expired… as of April 30… that was used for our election, for registration, etc. Bloat is not a word I’ll affix to it.”

Lowenfield was then asked: “Can the list, if refreshed, be used to conduct a free and fair election?”

“That’s correct,” he responded, “Always has and always will.”

Kaieteur News is in possession of a video clip of Lowenfield making this statement. It has been widely circulated.
But the statement comes during a highly contentious period. House-to-House Registration has already seen the participation of over 20,000 people, according to GECOM’s Public Relations Officer, Yolanda Ward. But the Commission has received reports that some persons are reluctant to participate in the process, which would see GECOM crafting a new list.

This is because of statements by Attorney-at-law Christopher Ram and the political opposition, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) that House-to-House is illegal.

Ram’s request was denied, pending further evidence.

But the PPP, still adamant that the expired list can be cleansed, insists that a period of claims and objections is enough. The Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo has said that this is the only process that would see elections being held within a three-month timeframe following the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)’s ruling of June 18, 2019.

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