Members of CoI to probe 2020 elections fiasco sworn in

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WhatsApp Image 2022-09-13 at 2.30.16 PM-cc736fc8
L-R: Justice Godfrey Smith, SC; retired Justice of Appeal Stanley John; Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan; former Chancellor of the Judiciary Justice (retired) Carl Singh; Prime Minister Mark Phillips; Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC; Governance and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Gail Teixeira and Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn at the swearing-in ceremony held on Tuesday at the Office of the President

The three members of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (CoI) to probe the events connected to the March 2020 General and Regional Elections were sworn in on Tuesday by Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan at the Office of the President, Georgetown. 

Members of the CoI, retired Justice of Appeal Stanley John (the Commission’s chair); former Chancellor of the Judiciary of Guyana, Carl Singh; and Justice Godfrey Smith, SC, each took their oath in the presence of President Dr Irfaan Ali. 

Also present at the swearing-in ceremony were Prime Minister Mark Phillips; Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, SC; Minister of Governance and Parliamentary Affairs, Gail Teixeira; Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn; Chairperson of Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), retired Justice Claudette Singh, members of the diplomatic community and members of the judiciary. 

It was in June that President Ali announced the members of the international Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections. 

John is a retired Trinidadian Justice of Appeal; Smith is a former Attorney General, High Court Judge and acting Justice of Appeal in the Eastern Caribbean; while Singh is a former Chancellor of the Judiciary and Chief Justice of Guyana. 

The Head of State had also announced that former Chairman and Chief Elections Commissioner of India, Dr S. Y. Quraishi will serve as a CoI member and Dr. Afari Jayan and Dr. Nasim Zaidi will serve as resource personnel to assist the CoI. 

But Dr Quraishi was not sworn in on Tuesday. 

“The CoI will set those who dwell in the house of democracy against those who dwell in the fire of undemocratic rule and norms,” the Head of State had remarked. He is confident that the CoI’s findings will see Guyana celebrating another victory. 

The PPP/C Administration since taking office had vowed to commence groundwork to strengthen the country’s electoral system, which will close major loopholes in the process.  

The government will be seeking changes including establishing that Statements of Poll (SoPs) be used as the only basis for the tabulation of results, instead of spreadsheets. 

The administration also wants SoPs to be posted online by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and contesting political parties within 24 hours of receiving them. 

The APNU+AFC Coalition made attempts to rig the March 2 elections by presenting fake SoPs and claiming victory. 

Following five months of legal battles, the will of the people being stifled and numerous calls from the regional and international community, the APNU+AFC accepted defeat and stepped down, finally making way for the constitutionally elected President Ali-led administration to assume office. 

Since then, several high-level officials of GECOM and the APNU+AFC are facing charges before the courts for issues relating to the elections.

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