By Abena Rockcliffe
At the People’s Progressive Party’s most recent press conference held on Monday, the Party’s General Secretary, Clement Rohee spoke of yet another set of issues that the Party has with GECOM’s operations.
Among them was the absence of updates on certain aspects of preparation.
The General Secretary said the PPP has noted that the Chairman of GECOM, Dr. Steve Surujbally, has been making public statements on all aspects of the electoral process and has been “lecturing” the political parties on the Constitution and formulae and principles for democratic elections and governance.
Rohee told media operatives that what the PPP’s executive has observed “in all the media hype by GECOM and its Chairman is the absence of updates on the education of Guyanese in addressing the outstanding issues concerning local government elections.”
He said that basically all the PPP has been hearing from the GECOM Chairman is that he needs a window of six months to prepare for Local Government Elections (LGE).
Dr. Surujbally has indeed been quoted in sections of the media as saying that all the President has to do is call local government elections and GECOM will be ready six months after and political parties have nothing else to worry about.
Rohee said that absent from the many Public Relations briefs is the blueprint or GECOM‘s roadmap for Local Government Elections.
“One would have expected that the 15-plus issues which the PPP raised concerning the preparations for local government elections would have formed a regular stream of communications from GECOM to the public and to the political parties, but this has not happened,” Rohee said.
The General Secretary emphasised that these are issues that the PPP demands GECOM address in a “frank and open manner”.
“A simple reminder of the most fundamental issue with regards to the holding of Local Government Elections is that of having an accurate Voters’ List for each constituency,” Rohee said.
He said that GECOM was preparing for Local Government Elections since 2009 so one can assume that these lists are available.
“If that is not so, then it’s mind-boggling; how six months will fix what six years did not fix. GECOM must provide direct and specific answers to the populace on these fundamental and critical issues.”
Even though Rohee and his Party are not comfortable with GECOM’s state of readiness, the General Secretary did suggest that the Chairman is not the problem.
“I’m not saying we have confidence in Surujbally… I am saying that the process out of which he was appointed, the government had to have confidence in him and thus far there has not been anything to make us shift from that position…We are laying issues before him and expect he will take up these matters,” Rohee told reporters.
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