Jan 19, 2020 Letters Comments Off on The level of distrust over the Revised List of Electors has grown since Nomination Day
The level of anxiety and distrust over the Revised List of Electors (RLE) has increased noticeably and dramatically since Nomination Day with the attendant criticisms of GECOM. A short few months ago, with the exception of APNU+AFC, criticisms of the List was non-existent and muted. APNU+AFC were convinced then, as the Kaieteur News editorial of January 14, 2020 is now, that “the list is terribly troubling, if not outright flawed”. APNU+AFC and their appointed Commissioners within GECOM had, many months ago, identified the listing of persons known, and presumed to have died, migrated and who had failed to uplift their national ID cards following the previous house-to-house registration as contaminating the list to an unacceptable degree and had secured a GECOM decision, under the previous Chairman, to conduct a house-to-house registration exercise to create a new and accurate list. The PPP/C objected strenuously and took the matter to the High Court and they, like many others who fault the list presently, declared their unqualified support for that list. The PPP/C’s legal action and the Chief Justice’s ruling regarding the requirement of residence verification for inclusion on the list has prevented any meaningful action to sanitise the list. So what has changed recently?
As far as I can tell, nothing has changed. Those who advocated unqualified support for the list, which existed prior to the truncated house-to-house registration exercise and had rejected and sabotaged that exercise continue to do so even more strenuously. There were 3 categories of potential electors registered during the house-to-house registration exercise, all of whom would have been required to provide the relevant source documents (original birth certificate, marriage certificate, deed poll, naturalisation certificate, valid passport, etc.) copies of which are attached to the registration form in order to be registered. These are: 1) first-time registrants, 2) persons previously registered whose data remain unchanged, and 3) persons previously registered whose data (name, address) were changed. The second category of registrants do not affect the RVL in any way, and I do not believe that there has been any serious attempt to exclude the first category (new registrants) from entry onto the list. It would appear that all the hostility is being directed at the third category of registrants, who are already listed being previously registered, but desiring to be placed on the divisional list where they presently reside. To seek to prevent GECOM from accommodating this legitimate request is a blatant form of voter suppression championed by the PPP/C and former Prime Ministerial candidate for the Change Guyana Party, and contrary to the claims of Mr. Nigel Hinds, this is not an attempt to “prevent pre-election day rigging, election day rigging and post-election day rigging” but rather in furtherance of those objectives. The resort to obstruction, hysteria and propaganda can only be seen as an attempt to create a justification for rejecting the results of the election, if unfavourable.
At this stage, I do not expect that the bloat will be excised from the RLE but I do expect that persons, who were properly registered, would be listed in the division/sub-division where they currently reside and were registered during the house-to-house exercise. Moreover, I am confident that with the many parties fielding thousands of polling and counting agents and the numerous local and international observer missions exercising their vigilance throughout the entire process that, notwithstanding the quality of the list, the results of the elections would be acceptable to all.
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