Another meeting of the Guyana Elections Commission, GECOM has ended with no consensus on the way forward as it relates to the General and Regional Elections.
Government-appointed GECOM Commissioner, Vincent Alexander explained yesterday that the commission is still involved in dialogue over the manner in which to proceed with the elections.
“We are discussing the way forward. We are discussing the usability of House-to-House Registration and we need to ensure that whatever is done is done in a timely matter,” Alexander told media operatives outside GECOM’s Headquarters in Kingston.
Alexander noted, however, that he could not say when the Commission will take a definitive decision on the elections. The Commissioner said that at this point, the GECOM is cautious not to divulge, publicly, too much information on the matters under deliberation.
According to Alexander, given the current political environment, GECOM is sensitive “not to use an approach that would allow politicians to be rancoured by what we have to say and therefore influence what will happen internally.”
At present, the Commissioner noted too that deliberations on the ruling of Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George, as it relates to the House–to-House Registration, is still under consideration of GECOM.
He said that as such, by next Tuesday, all Commissioners will have an opportunity to submit proposals on the way forward and how GECOM should respond to the Chief Justice ruling, which includes the issue of House-to-House Registration.
“All commissioners reserve the right to make their proposals that is not saying that they will do so…”
As regards the presentations put forward by Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield on possible election scenarios, the Government-appointed Commissioner said that the Commission is yet to examine the matter.
At the last meeting, Lowenfield was expected to provide clarification on his proposals.
Meanwhile, Opposition-nominated Commissioner, Sase Gunraj, who briefly commented on GECOM‘s deliberation, called the debates “an intentional method of delaying the holding of General Elections”.
The Opposition People’s Progressive Party had long held that elections should have been conducted three months after the passage of the December 21, 2018 no confidence motion in keeping with the provisions outlined by the Constitution.
Following yesterday’s meeting; the PPP issued a statement to further emphasise the party’s views on GECOM’s handling of election matters.
The Opposition Party stressed that “another week has passed, but still there is no clarity from GECOM, in respect of a likely date for early elections”.
The Party opined that “while GECOM procrastinates, the nation is becoming more frustrated and more impatient”. The PPP stressed too that the method of House-to-House Registration for the creation a new elections database is deeply flawed, not only by the sheer speed by which it is being accumulated, but also it is not scrutinised by all the political parties.
According to the Party, the wrong registration form is being used and the exercise is being boycotted by tens of thousands of Guyanese.
“Despite the clear pronouncements from the Chief Justice that elections were constitutionally due since 21st March 2019, and that the House-to-House Registration can neither result in the creation of a new National Register of Registrants (NRR) database, nor can it be used to remove the names of persons already registered, the Government-nominated Commissioners continue to irrationally argue at Commission meetings that the data generated by this exercise must be used.”
In fact, the PPP said, the Government Commissioners are arguing for this data to be used to create a second database. “This is clearly illegal. Duplicate registration is a criminal offence under the National Registration Act. Yet, GECOM is insisting that the House-to-House Registration exercise continue, which results largely in duplicate registration.”
As such, the Party reiterated a call to every Guyanese to boycott the exercise.
“We caution Enumerators to stop threatening Guyanese who are refusing to participate. We advise the Enumerators that to register a person who is already registered is to aid and abet the commission of a criminal offence, for which they are equally liable as the perpetrators, and that we will report this matter to the Police with a request to institute criminal charges.
We remind GECOM that its actions and inactions continue to violate the Constitution, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Consequential Orders and the recent decision of the Chief Justice. We emphasise that GECOM is violating its constitutional duty to the people of this country and is continuing to squander hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars in an unwarranted House-to-House exercise.”
The PPP stressed that it will not support any decision or actions of GECOM that will continue to violate our Constitution, disrespect the rulings from our Judiciary and perpetuate an illegal Government in office.
“We again call on GECOM to proceed to hold a cycle of Claims and Objections and to ready the machinery for elections.”
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