Jul 16, 2011 News
– opposes reopening to claims and objections period
The Alliance For Change (AFC) is opposing the reopening of the Claims and Objections. In protest, the political party staged a peaceful picketing exercise outside the Office of Guyana Elections Commission GECOM on High Street, Kingston, yesterday.
Some of the placards read; “AFC says no undemocratic move by PPP,” “ This is the beginning of Jagdeo third term,” “PPP scared to face poll, using GECOM to delay elections,” “13-days is a lie” “AFC says the delay will be much longer” and “AFC says no.”
According to leader of the AFC, Raphael Trotman, GECOM is giving serious consideration to the PPP request to reopen the period of Claims and Objections for persons to be included on the preliminary list of electors.
He said every day that there is a slippage by GECOM it will mean that the elections date will be adjusted. However, elections must be held by December 28 and there is need to have some certainty.
“No one party should be able to force the reopening of something that has been closed by law. It should be by consensus or not at all,” Trotman said.
Noting that the AFC has no representative on GECOM, Trotman said the protest action is needed to be heard, since a letter was written Wednesday last protesting strongly against the reopening of the claims and objection.
Opposition parties recently disclosed that they received reports from their field representatives that GECOM has commenced preparations in the field for a new round of Claims and Objections for a period of 13 days. However, the parties say that they have not been advised of such operations.
Trotman said that such acts reveal that the PPP/C which is a contesting party can trigger GECOM to reopen the claims and objection period, “It brings into question GECOM’s independence, its capacity to be fearless and not to be coerced and manipulated into taking decisions.”
AFC Treasurer, Dominic Gaskin, said that the reopening of the claims and objection period for 13 days will delay the elections, since there are other things that are to be done after the exercise is completed. These other things could potentially delay the holding of elections for at least a month to six weeks, taking the elections into the Christmas season.
The AFC was categorical in its rejection of any attempt to extend the claims and objection period and is in the process of communicating this to GECOM.
The AFC said that it will not support any effort to delay Guyana’s general elections due this year. The incumbent People’s Progressive party (PPP) had written to GECOM regarding concerns that a considerable number of persons were not registered, but seems sure the elections body would find a solution.
The joint opposition political parties had expressed fears that a considerable number of Guyanese could have been disenfranchised due to no fault of theirs, owing mainly to the fact that they were without the necessary source documents.
PPP General Secretary, Donald Ramotar, said that the PPP had a review with its main organizers across the country and found that the situation is similar to what the opposition parties reported.
The Joint Opposition Political Parties said that the main concern of their representatives is that a considerable number of citizens who have applied to the General Registrar Office (GRO) for their birth certificates (the main document needed to register) are still waiting in line.
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