Chief Elections Officer of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Keith Lowenfield, has declared that the Official List of Electors, which expired on April 30, 2019, can still be used to execute free and fair General and Regional Elections.
Lowenfield was, at the time, speaking to reporters outside of the High Court in Georgetown, following a statement by Chief Justice, Roxane George, on whether a conservatory order, sought by Attorney-at-Law, Christopher Ram, should be granted, blocking the execution of House to House Registration.
Lowenfield, yesterday, was asked whether the expired list is considered ‘bloated’.
He responded, “We have a list that was expired… as of April 30… that was used for our election, for registration, etc. Bloat is not a word I’ll affix to it.”
Lowenfield was then asked: “Can the list, if refreshed, be used to conduct a free and fair election?”
“That’s correct,” he responded, “Always has and always will.”
Back in February, Lowenfield had said that GECOM needs 148 days to prepare for elections. At the time, he had said that GECOM would need to be given the Order by the Commission to start the preparations, an Order he had been pleading for.
That period, he had explained, would include a 21-day period of claims and objections, not House to House Registration.
His most recent statement comes during a highly contentious period. House to House Registration has already seen the participation of over 20,000 people, according to GECOM’s Public Relations Officer, Yolanda Ward. But the commission has received reports that some persons are reluctant to participate in the process, which would see GECOM crafting a new list.
This is because of statements by Ram and the political opposition, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) that House to House is illegal.
In an advertisement published in Kaieteur News, Ram had said “This exercise is not intended to register persons but rather to deregister Guyanese who are eligible for qualification as electors under the Constitution of Guyana.”
Ram’s request was denied, pending further evidence.
But the PPP, still adamant that the expired list can be cleansed, insists that a period of claims and objections is enough. The Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo has said that this is the only process that would see elections being held within a three-month timeframe following the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)’s ruling of June 18, 2019.
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