…We don’t want to be caught napping – Patterson
The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is concerned about being caught scrambling for the upcoming Local Government Elections (LGE) which Government plans to have held within the next six months.
GECOM Chairman Justice (ret’d) James Patterson told Kaieteur News that the concerns about preparations were communicated at a recent meeting with Local Government Minister, Ronald Bulkan.
“We expressed our concerns about the date for the holding of the upcoming elections and he understands what we meant. We don’t want to be caught napping or sleeping at the wheel,” Patterson stated.
According to Patterson, the Minister is keeping the date for the elections ‘close to the chest’. He explained that the Commission is on course, statutorily, to meet the timelines stipulated by the law for the holding of elections.
“We have met every one of them, but what may hinder us is we don’t have the call as to the date for elections. The Minister of Communities has it, so we cannot allow ourselves to halt and wait until he makes the call, because we might be caught with our pants off. Insofar as it is practicable, we are up to date with every time post that has to be met,” Patterson asserted.
Currently, he explained, persons who wish to register or apply for a change of address can visit the nearest GECOM office.
Government believes that GECOM has received sufficient funding and should be ready to hold LGE by mid-November. It is the desire of the Government to have elections held within the prescribed constitutional time, which will be before December 7th.
Bulkan had told Kaieteur News that GECOM has received direct funding from Government to the sum of $3.4B, which includes $500M from last year.
There have been three local government elections since Guyana gained independence in 1966.
The first was held in 1970, then 1994 and 2016. Bulkan explained that when elections are held later this year, it will be the first time in post-colonial history that successive Local Government Elections are held as constitutionally due.
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