Elections Commission Chairman Singh demitting post monthend

By Daniel DaCosta
Stabroek News
June 9, 2001

The Chairman of the Elections Commission, Maj Gen (rtd) Joe Singh is to demit office at the end of the month.

Stabroek News has confirmed that Singh had indicated to the Office of the President his desire to leave at the end of the month. He is reportedly leaving for the private organisation he was to join when he retired from the Guyana Defence Force last year.

Stabroek News has learnt that to take up the post of chairman of the Elections Commission last year, Singh had to take a year's leave of absence from the job he had already accepted and had indicated as much to the Office of the President. When he accepted the appointment in May last year, Singh indicated then that he was doing so as a patriotic duty.

Singh will be leaving the Commission at a time when its preparation for and conduct of the March 19, elections is being reviewed and audited by a mission led by South African?born lawyer, Peter Harris, from the Stockholm?based international Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. The Harris mission arrives here on June 23 and its report is to be submitted by July 15.

Harris led the two-man scoping mission last month which looked at the tasks that would have to be undertaken to fulfil the terms of reference

The Elections Commission commissioned the audit and review. The terms of reference of the mission requires it to include recommendations to address any weaknesses that are identified in pre? and post?electoral procedures.

The conduct of the elections and the results of the elections have been challenged in the Court and the outcome of the audit and review is expected to be part of the evidence as to how the elections were conducted. (Patrick Denny)