Mar 04, 2021 News
– But no funds allocated to host House-to-House
Kaieteur News – While no funds were allocated for another House-to-House registration exercise, the sum of $1.1 billion was approved yesterday by the National Assembly for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to hold Local Government Elections (LGE).
That disclosure was made as the House Committee of Supply considered the $4 billion expenditure for GECOM.
Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira, explained to the Committee that some $237.7 million has been allocated for the purchasing of print and non-print materials, inclusive of the printing of ballot papers for the LGE.
With that said, Teixeira told the House that GECOM is expected to print approximately 500,000 ballot papers.
A further breakdown of the $1.1billion outlines that $32.8 million was allocated for the purchase of fuel and lubricants for the fleet of vehicles utilized by GECOM.
Minister Teixeira revealed as well that $81.6 million was allocated for the rental of private buildings. She explained to the House that there are expected to be roughly 17,000 polling stations established for LGE, however, public buildings would be utilized.
Added to that, the sum of $75.6 million was budgeted for subsistence and travel for polling day staffers and another $9.9 million for the regular distribution of Identification Cards (ID).
The Minister relayed as well that $26.4 million was allocated for telephone charges for the purchasing of minutes for Presiding Officers and Field Staff.
Along with that, $285.7 million was approved with $100 million of the sum going towards voter education and the remaining funds allocated for the rental of tents and containers.
For refreshments and meals, $89.1 million was approved for Election Day staff, along with $509 million for stipends for Assisting Chief Scrutinizers and Polling Day staff and approximately $18 million for the training of 8,500 persons.
While many have expressed satisfaction that the LGEs will be held this year, concerns still linger regarding the alleged “criminal elements” within the GECOM Commission.
The Vice President had stated in November last year that he has high hopes that the GECOM Chair, Ret’d Justice, Claudette Singh, would seek to remove them before the process begins as the nation has no confidence that credible elections results can be produced under their watch.
Dr. Jagdeo had said to the media, “We’re expecting that the Commission will get rid of the criminals. They don’t need any evidence. The whole country knows who these criminals are; those hardcore, in-yuh-face type of criminals, who tried to steal the elections and put this country through trauma.”
Notably, there are criminal charges for misconduct in office against GECOM’s Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield; Deputy CEO, Roxanne Myers; Region Four Returning Officer (RO), Clairmont Mingo; Information Technology Officer, Enrique Livan, as well as other GECOM staffer, Shefferon February.
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