Chief Justice Roxane George in her written judgment in lawyer Christopher Ram’s challenge to the legality of the current house-to-house registration exercise, noted that the legislative framework governing the electoral system are repetitive, convoluted and unnecessarily complicated and suggested that they be revised.
Justice George was referring to the Elections Law (Amendment) Act (ELA) and the National Registration Act (NRA). At Paragraph 176 of her 45-paged judgment, she pointed out that while it is the duty of the State and policy makers to ensure that the statutory provisions in regards to registration of voter are properly operationalized, she said that the legislative framework leaves much to be desired.
According to the Chief Justice, “It (legislative framework) is repetitive and convoluted and therefore unnecessarily complicated more so as the ELA and NRA have to be cross-reference to get a picture of how the laws are implemented. Any changes, e.g. by way of consolidating legislation, would be for the executive and legislature to determine.”
“This is as much as the court can say,” Justice George said in the written judgment.
Attorney-at-law Roysdale Forde was in agreement with the Chief Justice’s statement. According to Forde, in order to have pellucidity, “We need to have a legislative review of the act governing the electoral system.”
Meanwhile, Attorney-at-law Sanjeev Datadin expressed that while he welcomes the updating of laws, he does not have any issues with the current laws governing the electoral system. In fact, Datadin said, “My issue with the legislation itself is that amendments are not done in an organized way and in some cases the amendments have errors.”
In this regard, Datadin stressed, “Our laws need to be properly updated.” For one, Datadin pointed out that he observed some discrepancies in relation to the version of the ELA published on GECOM’s website to that contained in the purple volume of the Laws of Guyana. He, nevertheless, said that lawyers are accustomed to dealing with these sorts of obstacles.
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