The Guyana Elections Commission, GECOM has set Saturday, August 31, as the deadline for House-to-House registration. The decision follows the weeks-long deadlock at GECOM and a High Court decision handed down by Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George declaring the exercise as constitutional.
Commissioners appointed by both the Government and Opposition have been meeting with recently-appointed Chairman of the GECOM, retired Justice Claudette Singh, to deliberate on the elections procedures outlined by the GECOM, and to decide on the best method in moving the process forward.
At the end of yesterday’s meeting, the Commission announced that in addition to ending House-to-House registration, GECOM had decided that the data garnered from House-to-House Registration would be merged with the existing National Register of Registrants (NRR) database.
Opposition-appointed Commissioner Sase Gunraj told media workers outside of the Commission’s Kingston Headquarters that given the decision by the Chairman to use the information from House-to-House, the secretariat must come with a plan with how that information will be integrated.
Expressing satisfaction that a decision has been made, Gunraj asserted “I believe that sufficient arguments were made on both sides as to allow the [Chairman] to come to that decision.”
In the meantime, Gunraj said “I maintain that the information contained in the House-to-House process is unverified data and as a consequence it should not be used, but it is left to be seen what the Secretariat comes with in relation to that
Government-nominated Commissioner Vincent Alexander opined that it is important to note that House-to-House information will not be discarded.
“That information is integral to the process, and there is still a work in progress.”
Alexander stressed, however, that at this point his opinion does not matter.
“It is not a matter of my opinion; it is what the Chairman decides…”
Alexander was among the Government-appointed Commissioners who had been lobbying for the continuance of House-to-House registration.
The Government Commissioners have held that House-to-House is the most suitable method of ensuring that the list of electors is clean for General Elections.
The Opposition, People’s Progressive Party (PPP) on the other hand, has been advocating for the process to end, and for elections to be held by October the latest.
The PPP had alluded to the December 21 no-confidence motion and the ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice, which held that the vote was in fact valid.
GECOM in a statement yesterday acknowledged that the no-confidence motion passed in the National Assembly on 21st December 2018 triggered a number of legal challenges in the local Courts and concluded with the ruling by the Caribbean Court of Justice.
“Cognizant of all that has transpired over the past months, GECOM has an obligation to produce a credible Official List of Electors (OLE) in the first instance and ultimately credible elections within the shortest possible time.
As such, the Commission noted after considerable deliberations at the Commission on the way forward regarding the conduct of General and Regional Elections, Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission, Justice Claudette Singh, S.C at the Statutory Meeting of the Commission held on 27th August 2019, instructed that House-to-House Registration must be brought to an end.
According to the GECOM, the decision was based on the ruling of the Chief Justice on 14th August, 2019, that House-to-House Registration is not unlawful and is constitutional.
The Commission said, therefore, the data garnered from that registration exercise must be merged with the existing National Register of Registrants Database (NRRDB).
“In this regard, the Commission will move to an extensive Claims and Objections (C&O) Exercise before extracting the Preliminary List of Electors (PLE).
The Commission will continue to further deliberate on other matters of importance for the holding of General and Regional Elections within the shortest possible time and the Secretariat will continue to implement a number of operational activities, in particular, training of polling day staff and procurement of non-sensitive materials,” the GECOM said in the statement.
The PPP also issued a statement in response to GECOM ‘s decision, the Party noted that while it views that the decision made by GECOM as the only logical decision that could have been made, there are several misleading positions that were communicated to the Guyanese people via a press a statement issued by GECOM.
According to the PPP, the positions seem intent on confusing the Guyanese electorate. First, the Party stressed that the headline of the press statement – ‘Data garnered from House-to-House Registration will be merged with existing National Register of Registrants Database’ – leaves more unanswered questions.
The PPP reiterated its view that the planned merger of data from the house-to-house registration will not improve the quality or ‘credibility’ of the database – rather it will further contaminate the National Register of Registrants and cause further delays in the holding of Elections.
“What data exactly is being merged with the National Register of Registrants? Is it the entire 270,000-plus persons that GECOM claimed to have registered, including persons who were re-registered? If it is only the new registrants, why embark on this process, which will take several months to be completed, when it could easily be done in a Claims and Objections period.
Secondly, the GECOM press statement said, “based on the ruling of the Chief Justice on 14th August 2019 that House-to-House Registration is not unlawful and is constitutional, the data garnered from that registration exercise must be merged with the existing National Register of Registrants Database.”
“This is an attempt to distort the ruling of the High Court. Nowhere in the ruling of the Chief Justice did she direct any such merger of data garnered from the house-to-house registration with the National Register of Registrants.
Thirdly, the GECOM press statement said, “In this regard, the Commission will move to an extensive Claim and Objections Exercise before extracting the Preliminary List of Electors (PLE).”
That said, the Party urged that GECOM moves decisively by immediately launching a Claims and Objections exercise, which will allow those who are not on the National Register of Registrants and are eligible, to be properly registered.
Nov 21, 2019By Zaheer Mohamed Half centuries by Veda Krishnamurty and Jemimah Rodrigues along with some steady bowling handed India Women a 61-run victory against the West Indies Women in the final T20...
One of the intriguing dimensions in the dialogue to renew the Cummingsburg Accord, is that both entities have declined to... more
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]