Chief Elections Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Keith Lowenfield said that the 2018 Local Government Elections were held within budget. Lowenfield stated that $1.2B was budgeted for the elections.
Some 208,534 electors cast their vote in the first consecutive running of the Local Government Elections in decades.
Lowenfield stated that he could not provide how much monies were spent, as GECOM has not satisfied all the payments for vendors and staff.
“I cannot say with any accuracy at this point in time whether we utilised all or part of the sum that was budgeted. What I know is we haven’t overspent,” Lowenfield stated.
GECOM’s entire budget for 2018 is $2.9B with $160M allocated for capital works and items and $1.6B for the normal operations of the Commission. Initially, GECOM submitted a budget of $3.7B, but this was slashed when the estimates were considered and passed by the National Assembly.
In 2016, $1.5B was expended for those elections.
In preparation for the 2020 National and Regional Elections, GECOM has unveiled an expansive plan for $3B in their 2019 budget for house-to-house registration.
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is questioning the decision of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Secretariat to include house-to-house registration in the budget.
The PPP has noted that there is no decision taken by the Commissioners to pursue house-to-house registration.
According to the Opposition, it could be padding the budget.
They have pointed out that there is huge danger in GECOM pursuing house-to-house registration and warned that delays to the General Elections will result in a Constitutional crisis.
The PPP has reminded that in 1990 the elections were delayed until 1992 because GECOM prepared a flawed voters’ list. On that occasion, the PPP agreed to the extension.
“We are not going to agree to anything now. The moment the constitutional period expires for this Government we are in no man’s land; constitutional crisis. Parliament will be dissolved. Spending would cease and any contract signed in that period can be subjected to review by the new Government. This is very important that people understand that from now,” Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo has indicated.
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