The Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) yesterday ramped up pressure of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to start preparations for elections to be held within three months.
The Opposition also objected to plans to start house-to-house registrations today, signaling its intentions to approach the local courts to file contempt proceedings.
The morning protests saw police erecting barricades blocking protestors from the area leading to the entrance of GECOM.
A pregnant woman who allegedly threw dirty water on protestors was arrested.
According to Bharrat Jagdeo, the Opposition Leader, who was present with Presidential Candidate, Irfaan Ali, the protest action outside the head office of the GECOM headquarters was to call for compliance with the Constitution of Guyana and the ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice.
The Opposition pointed out that a recent “secret” June 11, 2019 order signed by the “illegally appointed” GECOM Chairman, James Patterson, who has since resigned, was overtaken by the order of the CCJ on July 12, 2019 and cannot be used as the basis on which house-to-house registration is pursued.
“The CCJ order stated that GECOM must comply with the Constitution – that is elections in three months – and GECOM itself had advised the Court that embarking on house-to-house registration will delay Elections until after December 25, 2019.”
At the protests actions were several PPP leaders and included former President Donald Ramotar.
It was pointed out that GECOM’s lawyer, this week, reportedly advised Kieth Lowenfield, the Chief Elections Officer against pursuing house-to-house registration, pointing out that this will conflict with the CCJ’s order.
“One, then, has to question his motive to act in contempt of both the CCJ’s order and against the advice of his own Legal Officer. Mr. Lowenfield has not even formally informed us, in the PPP, about the confirmed start of new house-to-house registration tomorrow (Saturday, July 20, 2019), despite the fact that the enumeration forms to be used in the process require the signatures of scrutineers from political parties.”
Jagdeo disclosed that the PPP is now contemplating approaching the Court to prevent this activity by Lowenfield, which is in contempt of the order of the CCJ and in defiance of the Constitution of Guyana.
“If this wasn’t bad, what is worse is that the planned start of the exercise is done in a manner to exclude scrutiny. Without notice, parties were not given sufficient time to ready a list of over 2,000 scrutineers to ensure that the activity is done in a manner that is above board.”
The party also called on GECOM to immediately start preparations for updating the last valid List of Electors, through a period of Claims and Objections.
“GECOM should discontinue any attempt to do house-to-house registration and pay a lump sum, let’s say $100,000, to all the enumerators who have been trained for their efforts thus far.
GECOM should recall the over 8,000 persons who were trained for the November 2018 Local Government Elections, as well as others, and start the process of training and, where necessary, re-training, for General and Regional Elections.”
The PPP said that there can be no acceptance of any action that represents blatant disregard and disrespect of our Constitution.
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