The National Assembly approved $3.4B for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) for the conduct of General and Re
gional Elections – $3.3B of that sum was approved for current expenses, while $182M was approved for capital expenses.
The approved estimate for GECOM’s current expenses is just $14M short of the amount requested by GECOM.
Minister of Finance Winston Jordan said, “As you have seen, these elections are very costly. In addition to the 5.37B, now you have an additional $3.4B roughly, bringing the total sum to almost $9B (and counting) for the elections in 2020.”
He noted that the supplement is in keeping with a commitment made by the President before the No Confidence Cases even went to Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). The Chairman of the Commission, Justice (Ret’d) James Patterson, had written to the President requesting funding for the conduct of elections.
Jordan was keen to note that the granting of those funds to the Commission was because of the Chairman’s request, and not because it expects a certain ruling by the CCJ.
“This provision, I want to say today, is not in anticipation of anything that the CCJ may or may not say or decide on,” he told the assembly.
Though GECOM is preparing to execute House-to-House Registration, Commissioner Vincent Alexander told reporters last Tuesday, that the Commission has not received a report on House-to-House, which is why a date has not yet been deliberated on.
Guyana awaits rulings by the CCJ on a series of cases, which will guide the decisions of the Commission in relation to when elections will be held.
While the political opposition hopes for early elections, government has remained steadfast that the Official List of Electors (OLE) must be updated, given its expiry on April 30, and that elections should be held in 2020, as constitutionally mandated under normal circumstances.
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