The absence of reasonable compromises, among the Commissioners of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), is a worrying development. Each side says that it wants to ensure an accurate and credible Official List of Elections (OLE), yet neither side seems predisposed towards compromising.
It took a majority vote by the Commission for a decision on house-to-house verification of 20,000 registrants. One side was not in favour of the verification exercise saying that it would be useless while the other was not in favour of a verification of a small sample of the 20,000 so as to assess the extent of any flaws.
You would have thought that given the importance which both sides have attached to ensuring a credible OLE, that a compromise would have been possible. And that the government-nominated Commissioners, despite feeling that house-to-house registration was useless, would have compromised and allowed for the checks.
It should not take more than two weeks for house-to-house verification to be done. The exercise ought not to delay the elections since other tasks can be done simultaneously. The house-to-house verification would satisfy the opposition which, it should be recalled, was not part of the house-to-house registration but which still compromised in terms of the use of some of the data from the exercise in compiling the OLE. But it has upset the other side for some inexplicable reason.
There are matured persons on both sides of the political divide within GECOM. These persons are not getting any younger. They should have been by now able to achieve greater consensus.
It is not going to hurt anyone to have 20,000 names verified. It is not as if it were 100,000 names which had to be verified.
During the house-to-house registration, GECOM was registering close to 20,000 persons per week so there is no reason why it should not be able to undertake a rapid house-to-house verification of the 20,000 names which are posing problems.
The government, in the meantime, continues with its childish actions. General and Regional Elections are less than 3 months away but the National Assembly has not yet been prorogued. The government seems to be baiting someone to file a Court action so that it can use that as pretext for extending its term of office till next year end.
The government’s excuse for not proroguing parliament is that it wants to be open to the possibility of GECOM requesting more funds. It is keeping parliament open for such a purpose. It seems as when it comes to complying with the Constitution that GECOM is the arbiter.
The government would have the nation believe that GECOM has it by its frock tails. Since the government is making GECOM appear all powerful, perhaps it should ask GECOM to renegotiate the oil and gas contracts with Exxon.
It sure does appear as if the government is prepared to sidestep its constitutional and legal responsibilities on the basis that GECOM is calling the shots.
High comedy exists in Government. Those administering the state have little idea of what they are doing and so they are making clumsy moves every day.
It is unforgiveable that the Department of Energy should have earlier this year, been going all around the place giving lectures to groups about the prospects for oil and gas industry when there are so many outstanding and urgent matters to which it should have been attending.
Oil production is about to begin and the Department of Energy is now hustling to get someone to market Guyana’s share of oil. This should have been done one year ago.
And the greatest absurdity is that the government is all confused as to what constitutes procurement. Perhaps it should ask GECOM since it claims accommodation has to be made for keeping parliament open despite GECOM saying that it has sufficient funding.
It can certainly seek GECOM’s advice in what constitutes procurement. GECOM knows about procurement. We are yet to hear whatever happened to those matters for which the Auditor General was awaiting a response from GECOM.
When you look at the drama which is taking place in GECOM, you have to question just why you should be voting on March 2, 2020. Vote for whom? Those who cannot even compromise on simple matters?
Why should anyone stain his or her finger with indelible ink on March 2, 2020? Given the choice of candidates, it is not worth the while.
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