July 29 2019
The new chairman of the country’s elections body, Justice (retired) Claudette Singh, says she will carry out her functions according to the law and constitution and “nothing else.”
“I am endeavouring to have free, fair and transparent elections,” she told reporters after she was appointed Monday morning by President David Granger.
Her stellar career in law gave her the titles “Iron Lady” and the “Hanging Judge” and she was mindful of those titles in not making much of the fact that she is the first woman to chair the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
It was Justice Singh who had vitiated the 1997 elections on the grounds that it was unconstitutional for GECOM to require the use of a special voter ID card for those elections.
Justice (retired) Claudette Singh takes the oath [DPI photo]
She had initially declined nomination when first approached by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, who was required to submit a list of six persons for the President to choose one in 201
But on Friday, the Opposition Leader said he had an extensive discussion with her and she decided to put up her name for nomination. Within hours, she was selected for appointment by the President.
Reflecting on her decision, she gave this reason: “…they asked me for the sake of the country, and that is it, nothing else.”
L-R: Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, Justice (rtd) Claudette Singh and President David Granger (News Room photo]
“I am just hoping I would do something for Guyana because there is only one way – in accordance with the law, in accordance with the constitution, and nothing else.”
Justice Singh will most likely take up her position at High Street, Kingston on Tuesday.
She said she will hold separate meetings with Commissioners representing the government and the opposition and then will meet with them together.
“I believe in inclusivity,” she declared.
“I do not believe in people walking out when there is disagreement; I believe in sitting down and hammering out whatever the problem is.”