Meet the Team

The Electoral Reform Group was founded and incorporated by:

Dr Desmond Thomas

“Well-executed electoral reform is the best thing Guyana can do to improve political stability and economic prospects at this time.” – Desmond

Dr Desmond Thomas is an economist who has taught at several universities, including The UWI, Trent University, Canada, FIU and the University of Guyana. He has also held positions as Economic Adviser (ag.) to the President of Guyana, Lead Economics Specialist at the IADB, and Statistician at the CARICOM Secretariat. He served as Honorary Consul for Guyana in Jamaica in 1993-1995. Among a long list of publications on relevant topics, he published a book entitled: Electoral System Reform for a Diverse Nation, The Case of Guyana, in December 2019.

Kerry Anne Cort-Kansinally
Implementation Lead

“The stress of everyday life in Guyana takes a toll on the ambition of our young people and we need to have a better way to influence the future we want.” – Kerry Anne

Kerry Anne Cort-Kansinally is a young professional in geospatial analysis and project management. Her keen social activism is demonstrated in her early roles as a youth leader in the Guyana Red Cross organising and running weekly youth group sessions and as a member of Rights of Children (ROC), an organization of young people, dedicated to promoting racial harmony in Guyana.

She conducted a series of child rights’ advocacy activities, enabled youths around Guyana to commence solving issues they faced and promoted and encouraged young Guyanese to remain in and develop Guyana. She has worked with schools in coastal and hinterland regions, including working with indigenous young women on rural development.

In recent years she has also served on the Executive Committee of the Guyana Human Rights Association(GHRA). She produced and coordinated an initiative of civil society organisations, on “Integrity in Public Life”, to mobilise interest in the electoral system. These activities have required interaction with businesses and political leaders, a number of whom she has interviewed on a civic education television programme.

Lawrence Lachmansingh
Implementation Lead

“I believe that Guyana’s people, who yearn for a better life, can better contribute to positive change if the electoral system encourages all of us to work together.” – Lawrence

Lawrence is a practitioner in the areas of governance and conflict prevention, with particular expertise in conflict management, elections and civil society participation in democratic processes.

In Guyana, Lawrence volunteered and eventually served as Project Director with the local election observer group, the Electoral Assistance Bureau. Between 2003 and 2006 he managed UNDP’s Social Cohesion Programme.

Overseas, Lawrence has undertaken assignments with CIDA, NDI, The Carter Center, UNDP, USAID and others over the past 20 years in over 30 countries, such as Cambodia, Ghana, Indonesia, Lebanon, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Zambia.

Professor Rory Fraser(Ret.)
Implementation Lead

“An electoral system which holds elected officials accountable to the people they purport to represent.” – Rory

Rory spent 14 years teaching, conducting research and providing technical assistance to underrepresented landowners in Alabama and surrounding states so they could obtain the training and services required to successfully manage and retain their properties.

He also spent significant time over the past 10 years involved in teaching, research, and community-based activities in Guyana. Rory contributed to evaluation of: UG’s strategy plans, international biodiversity center, and research and business development center; environmental and social impacts of Linden-Lethem road; food security in Region 9; mangroves in Regions 3, 4, 5 and 6; and revision of Guyana’s National Forest Policy. Evaluations required meeting and discussing social, economic and environmental issues in local communities, some in the other five Regions.

René Edwards
Implementation Lead

“It is my view that democracy comes from and is vested in the people. Therefore, democratic systems should promote freedom and allow people and communities to solve problems towards enhanced human well-being and the protection of nature. As such, electoral and governance systems have to provide the space and conditions for people to govern themselves and to be represented by elected officials who are accountable and who represent the needs and interests of citizens.” – Rene

Rene was an Election observer in 2011 and commentator on the 2020 elections.

René is a sustainable local and regional development and natural resources management practitioner with over 16 years of practical/hand-on experience in Guyana, Sri Lanka and Canada. He specialises in co-designing and supporting the implementation of human centered and environmentally friendly development programmes and projects with local communities, non-governmental organisations and regional and national governments. René has a Bachelor’s degree in Conservation and Environmental Studies from York University in Toronto, Canada and a Master’s Degree in Local and Regional Development from The Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, The Netherlands. René has served as a local volunteer observer at national elections with the Electoral Assistance Bureau in the past.

Heetasmin Singh
Implementation Lead

Heetasmin Singh is a lecturer at the University of Guyana in the Faculty of Natural Sciences. She also works in the field of Natural Resources Management within Guyana, engaging stakeholders in policy development. In her spare time, she does volunteer work with children, youth and women. Her greatest passion comes from helping others, in order to create a better society for all.

Vanessa Williams

Sociologist, who believes that equity is a social process that involves education, activism, accountability, political and personal will. Vanessa has over a decade of experience in youth and community development. She has served in many voluntary positions, noteworthy being a National United Nations Volunteer, under the United Nations Enhanced Public Trust Security and Inclusion Project (EPTSI). Vanessa holds a Bachelor of Science-Sociology, University of Guyana and a Master of Arts Social Development, University of Sussex, London, through the auspices of the OPEC Scholarship fund. An independent social consultant, she is also an adjunct Lecturer University of Guyana, and life skills educator working along with the Board of Industrial Training.