Retired Canadian chief elections officer to provide technical help to GECOM Chair

Jean-Pierre Kingsley
Jean-Pierre Kingsley

Jean-Pierre Kingsley,  who served as Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer for 17 years,  has accepted the invitation of GECOM Chair Justice (rtd) Claudette Singh to provide technical electoral aid to the Chair.

Sources told Stabroek News that Kingsley has met with Justice Singh, Chief Election Officer Keith Lowenfield and senior staff of the GECOM Secretariat, GECOM Commissioners, political parties and representatives of the diplomatic community.                 

He is scheduled to meet today with the government and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.

Sources say that Kingsley will remain available for consultation via phone and email in between his visits. His assistance is being funded by the Canadian High Commission and will cover the period between October to March.

The question of technical assistance to GECOM has been a burning issue as there have been growing concerns over the last year about the process leading up to general elections scheduled for March 2nd next year. Other offers of assistance have been made to GECOM by the United Nations and the Commonwealth. Information Technology aid has been seen as a key need.

Kingsley has provided electoral advice to Haiti, Iraq, Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Lucia and has been consulted by many other countries.

Kinsley’s profile on the Elections Canada website is as follows:

Jean-Pierre Kingsley served as Chief Electoral Officer from 1990 to 2007. During his term, he adopted a proactive role for his Office, recommending and promoting key initiatives to make the electoral process more accessible.

While ushering in reforms needed to comply with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, he led Elections Canada into the age of computerized election administration.

In 1992, with the adoption of Bill C-78, Elections Canada gained a new mandate to inform and educate voters, particularly those most likely to experience difficulties in exercising their democratic rights.

Other achievements include the introduction of the 36-day election calendar, digitized electoral geography systems and products, and the establishment of the National Register of Electors.

In addition, the election financing regime was expanded to regulate third-party advertising and election financing of all political entities, combining to make the electoral process more fair and transparent.

Jean-Pierre Kingsley also presided over a period of unprecedented technological change, including the development of the Elections Canada Web site as a comprehensive tool for public information.

During his tenure, Elections Canada participated in many significant international development missions aimed at promoting democratic electoral processes through co-operation, capacity building and mutually beneficial relationships.

Following his recommendations to Parliament, the Canada Elections Act was amended in 2006 to authorize the Chief Electoral Officer to appoint returning officers.

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