The not-so-small hill of house-to-house registration rests. Now the next hills, mini-mountains in themselves, wait to be scaled. Those would be the businesses encompassing Claims and Objections (C&O), Preliminary List of Electors (PLE), and the Official List of Electors (OLE).
From the standpoint of this publication, the outlook is filled with pessimism. It is to the point of grimness, as more of the contentiousness that has torn apart this year gathers steam to deliver more in what is left of it.
Media coverage from major houses carried several consistent strains. It is the same story that promises more of what leads to those most troubling places: heavier distrust, more animosities, and greater division.
What was heard, and was interpreted, is that there is going to be some blending of the old list with the now curtailed body of raw electors’ information, to get to an agreeable place. This paper sees this as seeking to obtain the best of two clashing worlds; an attempt at compromise to address the provisions of the Chief Justice’s ruling, as understood, and to satisfy the adversarial parties involved.
It is seeking to remove the oceans of fear and discontent that separate two formidable political landmasses. We wish the GECOM agency the best of luck, while hoping for the best possible outcome: one that is acceptable across the chasms of hard differences – because to get from PLE to the final OLE will prove to be the next battleground, and is already shaping up to be an unreachable star.
Even to mention approaching and examining the two competing and problematic lists has unleashed the less than comforting, the more than disturbing. Troubling, to say the least, and as was confirmed by what came from the political adversaries.
This newspaper reported: “Opposition-appointed Commissioner (Sase) Gunraj stated 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.” Encouraging, but not so fast. For Mr. Gunraj added, “I maintain that the information contained in the House-to-House process is unverified data and as a consequence it should not be used….”
The position of government-appointed Commissioner Alexander is the diametrical opposite. The two points of view are articulations of inflexible stances through careful, but unambiguous, phraseology. There is nothing incomprehensible about the utterances. The grounds for future judicial escalation and review are carefully plotted. This publication urges the determined political foes to work untiringly and genuinely to prevent matters from deteriorating beyond the judicial.
Undoubtedly, the C&O period and both the PLE and OLE, as and whenever extracted, are going to be the next minefields of controversy and hard conflicts. The outlook is fraught with raving uncertainty.
It is against these roiling backdrops that KN reminds of GECOM’s position, “Cognisant 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.”
In the context of stated, unswerving political positions, “credible OLE” leading to “ultimately credible elections” and in “the shortest possible time” all appear to be unrealizable contradictions in both terms and expectations. Well-meaning, but doomed to despair. The reception has not been positive. Far from it.
Confirming this, KN notes that, “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.” And 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”.
The opposition was very clear as to where it stood following the Gecom announcement on Wednesday last, “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.” And that should be that; except that it isn’t. For what may have appealed to the Chairwoman as profound and the miracle of splitting the atom, ended up attracting sentiments just short of the outright scornful, the doggedly dismissive.
Now when all the immediate reactions were gathered and analysed, the reluctant view of this publication, therefore, is that this season is far from over. Indeed, it is just beginning, and there is the growing sense that the toughest terrains are still ahead.
For, after all, the fight over a credible chair was, at the end of the day, over an agency that will ensure a list that is acceptable across the political spectrum.
Today, this seems to be most unpromising. Unless, there are some adjustments of outlooks, the anguish continues while a country is held hostage with no ransom commitment or arrangement forthcoming.
With this modus operandi now the settled modus vivendi in Guyana, it is the apex of embarrassment that men and women have the shameless vulgarity of calling this a developing nation. How? Since when? By what measurement? By what semblance of principled intellect and reasoning and conscience?
If we really are serious (even manly about the obligations at hand), then there is vital necessity to adjust and adapt to more flexible positions. By one. By both. By all. The Chairwoman tries valiantly to please everyone (merged lists). In so doing, no one appears to be pleased at all. This is dispiriting, severely so.
Surely, we can rise to the challenges threatening to overwhelm and do better by overcoming them? With gritty determination. Through indomitable will. Through authentic visions of real nationhood. This is only achievable by overcoming partisan ambitions, calculations, and visions first. By putting the welfare of all the people first. First! This paper hopes that this is not asking too much; that our leaders have what it takes to find this within themselves.
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