My Personal Choice for Chairman of GECOM – by Francis Quamina Farrier

Mr Lawrence Lachmansingh

My Personal Choice for Chairman of GECOM by Francis Quamina Farrier

His Excellency President David Arthur Granger has so far, not accepted any of the individuals submitted in two lists presented to him for that unenviable job of Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

However, as a Guyanese citizen and Elder, I boldly say that I have my number one candidate; and he was on the first list submitted by former President and Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Bharrat Jagdeo, MP. For me, a proud citizen of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, that candidate is Mr Lawrence Lachmansingh. I must add that doing some research, I discovered that he is also the choice of many other Guyanese.     

Of course, I am obliged to say why Mr. Lachmansingh is my choice for that very “thankless job.”  I am well aware that there could be very strong reaction, both favourable and not so favourable to my recommendation. There is the possibility that some important facts which I know of Mr Lachmansingh, may not be in the CV which was presented to the President, and so, I am hopeful that should President Granger read this article, he may very well discover more about Mr Lachmansingh, than what is included in his CV, and so give him the nod of approval.

I would also like to say that my decision to write what may very well turn out to be a controversial article, was carefully pondered upon. This is no off-the-cuff or agenda-driven piece. This is generated from the national patriotism taught to me since I was a very young teen by my parents, who instilled in me, to always be bold and say to powerful people, what I thought about important and even not-so-important issues, which may impact the lives and well-being of other Guyanese; but to say it with humility and with due respect for those in authority; and that is what I am now setting out to do.

After Mr. Lachmansingh’s name appeared on the first list submitted by Bharrat Jagdeo, many citizens were of the opinion that President David Granger would have accepted him. Of course that did not happen. A second list was submitted by the Leader of the Opposition, and so far, none of the candidates has been accepted by His Excellency the President. One can realize that our President is not rushing to a decision, but giving careful thought to this very important matter.

President Granger already has the CVs of all the candidates presented by the Leader of the Opposition and will know the credentials of Mr Lachmansingh when it comes to supporting free, fair and peaceful elections – something Guyana absolutely must continue to have. However, I suspect that some major information about Mr Lachmansingh may have been unavoidably omitted in that CV, resulting in the President overlooking that particular candidate as the one by far, best suited for the Post of the next Chairman of the GECOM.

So I figured that “It is Time” for me to step forward, as a mature citizen of Guyana, and say to our President,

“Your Excellency, two lists for the next Chairman of GECOM have been presented to you, Sir, and you have not chosen anyone as yet. But, Excellency, you might have missed the best candidate in the person of Mr Lawrence Lachmansingh whose name was on the first list.” 

I would then probably notice that the President was becoming interested in what I was saying, and so I would go on to give him the Bio of the person of my choice.

First of all,  I have known Lawrence Lachmansingh for over thirty years – since he was in his late teens.  He is a well-educated and rounded individual. Like President Granger, Mr. Lachmansingh is a stable, married, and God-fearing man.  Mr Lachmansingh himself is of Indian and Chinese heritage –  a mirror of President Granger’s own children. Mr. Lachmansingh’s three teenage daughters have the blood of all of Guyana’s races flowing through their veins.

Over his career, Mr. Lachmansingh has shown no favour to any political party in Guyana and deals with political issues rationally, objectively, respectfully, fairly and professionally.

A former student of St. Stanislaus College, he has a degree in Theology and an MBA, is Chair of the Roman Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, and is the Local Attache of the Papal Nuncio of the Catholic Church to CARICOM. For the years I have known him, I have seen in him a man of simple and upright character, with no display of ego or ever trying to ride rough-shod over others.

Very importantly, he has performed senior functions in Guyana and overseas with the United Nations, the UNDP, CIDA, USAID, NDI, and a few others. He has worked in many countries around the world including the Far East, the Middle East and Africa, and witnessing General Elections at first hand, in some of those countries. He has also observed General Elections here in his native Guyana.

Guyana can be proud of Mr Lawrence Lachmansingh, who while attached to the UNDP in Ghana, saved a young man from drowning in a river. Mr. Lachmansingh was nearby on the beach when an alarm was raised, and he plunged into the river and dragged the young man, Nii Duodoo, to safety. I personally interviewed Mr Nii Duodoo, who is now married and has a daughter, and he told me that he is eternally grateful to Mr. Lawrence Lachmansingh for saving his life. Mr Lachmansingh is regarded as a hero by the many Ghanaians who know of that incident of bravery.

As I continue this article, I must admit that I am not fully conversant with all the finer details regarding the day-to-day running of the Guyana Elections Commission, but to my mind , the President’s preference for someone with a Legal background may not be absolutely necessary, since only one of our last five GECOM Chairs, all of whom served Guyana well, were judges. There are some citizens who, while not qualified in the Legal Profession and called to the Bar, have the natural ability to judge situations in a professional way; and Mr Lachmansingh is such a person.

Specially in his favour, Mr Lachmansingh, who is in his late 40s, possesses that valuable and rare combination of youth and experience, combined with integrity and love for his native Guyana, to make him an excellent Chair of GECOM. As mentioned before, he is my number one choice. After making my case to President David Granger, I would say to him,

 “Your Excellency, you are the President of Guyana, and I am a hard-working veteran dramatist and journalist, who has received many awards and prizes over the years, including The Bishops’ High School Parent of the Year Award in 1987, and a National Award of the Medal of Service, which was presented to me by President Arthur Chung in 1978. I know that Presidents sometimes review decisions which they have previously made, but make the necessary adjustments if they receive added information, and realize that it will be for betterment.”  

It is my hope that President David Arthur Granger will consider this humble and patriotic recommendation, and announce to the Guyanese people, that after serious consideration, coupled especially with added information received about the candidate, he has decided to accept Mr. Lawrence Lachmansingh, as Guyana’s next Chairman of GECOM.

God Bless our Cooperative Republic of Guyana.

 

International Facilitator, South African-born Chris Spies, (who worked in Guyana for some years) Irish-born British High Commissioner, Greg Quinn, Minister Of Social Security, Hon. Amna Ali, MP and Local Facilitator Lawrence Lachmansingh, at a recent Seminar in Georgetown. (GINA photo)

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Comments

  • C Griffith  On June 5, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Mr. Farrier, Sir: Having the courage of one’s conviction is an attribute lacking in most people. Although you have made a compelling case on behalf of Lawrence, before I offer my support and join the band-wagon, it would be helpful in learning if Lawrence is of any lineage to ‘my family’ of Camp & Norton Street,Werk-en-Rust (Clement,Enid and Esmond) ; or those at Durban & Louisa Row,Wortmanville;
    or those on Regent Street between Cummings & Light Street,Bourda or Bush-Lot, Corentyne. ?

    • Francis Quamina Farrier  On June 5, 2017 at 10:08 pm

      C. Griffith, Mr Lawrence Lachmansingh was born at Port Mourant, Corentyne Coast, Region #6 and grew up at Linden, Upper Demerara river, Region #10. He is related to those Lachmansinghs, which is spelt without a ‘t’.,

      • C Griffith  On June 6, 2017 at 9:09 am

        Many thanks for your prompt response. His ‘pedigree’ leaves me no choice but to fully endorse him . BTW,during my pre-teen days in the 1950’s, I spent a few August months with the family at Bush-Lot, Corentyne and got there aboard a lorry driven by Kit /Kid after departing Camp & Norton Street. I know Esmond since my birth in 1948.
        Monte Griffith,formerly of Lot 31 Broad Street,Charlestown.

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