We live in a funny country. Too funny to be true. No wonder the world has been laughing at us. No wonder the Caribbean has found bemusing, the numerous challenges to the no confidence motion (NCM) of last December.
The shenanigans continue. The President would have us believe that there are as many as 200,000 incorrect entries on the voters’ list. This would be just under one in every two persons who voted in the May 2015 election which brought him to power.
The President cannot be serious about those numbers which he quoted in his reaction to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruling yesterday. Where did he conjure up that number from?
If the list is so outdated and corrupt, the results of the 2018 local government elections should be vitiated. But the PNCR, the lead party in the ruling Coalition Government, made no complaints about the list used in those elections. It accepted the results of those elections, which it lost handsomely.
The President is badly misinformed about how the names of persons who recently turned 18 get onto the preliminary list of electors. A person turning 18 does not need to register via house-to-house registration or even a cycle of continuous registration to get on the list.
Once you are 14 years of age, you are entitled to be registered. So, most persons between 14 and 18 years would have been registered over the past four years. And when their 18th birthday arrives, their names would be added to the list of electors. This idea therefore that there are thousands of persons who turned 18 years recently, and are thus entitled to vote, but not registered, is a figment of the President’s imagination or he is grossly misinformed.
There is no need for house-to-house registration to sanitise the voters’ list. And it can hardly be a situation where more than 200,000 names need to be taken off the list. This is impossible and an exaggeration.
But there are enough suckers out there to believe this sort of propaganda which is being peddled by the government. The government is clinging desperately to any excuse to try to find a way to delay the elections, and it is unfortunate that the nation has to be told that as many as 200,000 incorrect entries are on the voters’ list
The government is in ‘La-la land’. It has failed to grasp the concerns, which it needs to address immediately and before next week. These concerns have nothing to do with the voters’ list and the readiness of GECOM to hold elections. The legality of the government is the issue in question.
The CCJ has ruled that Articles 106(6) and 106 (7) were trigged by the passage of the no confidence motion (NCM) which was passed last December. This means elections are to be held within three months of the passage of the NCM unless the National Assembly provides otherwise.
The reason why the CCJ has not provided consequential orders as yet is because it is allowing for that political process to allow for a possible extension of the three-month period to legitimise the life of the government. In other words, the CCJ was suggesting that the parties meet to see if an agreement was possible to extend that three months (which have long expired). Without that extension (however it is to be done), the government remains de facto.
What we have in Guyana now is a constitutional crisis. And instead of the President speaking to how he proposes to resolve this crisis, he has made ill-advised comments about house-to-house registration and an outdated and corrupt voters’ list.
The President is missing the issue. He has also failed to grasp that since the process of appointing the Chair of GECOM was flawed, there is need for this process to be rectified. And the CCJ has provided some guidance on this issue. The President failed to address how he proposes to do this.
Instead of dealing with these issues, the President goes off on a digression about being advised about elections in November, an alleged flawed list, and the need to ensure credible elections.
We have not come to that stage as yet. There are issues to be resolved before next week. The President’s ill-advised statement of yesterday may have closed off any possibility of those issues being resolved.
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