Nov 16, 2022 News
Kaieteur News – Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton on Tuesday chided British High Commissioner to Guyana, Jane Miller for comments she made regarding Guyana’s voters’ list. At his weekly press conference, Norton described Miller’s statements as “ill-informed”.
Online news entity Demerara Waves on November 12, 2022 quoted Miller saying that Guyana’s voters’ list is being updated and could be used to hold general elections with sufficient safeguards.
“Anywhere in the world, you got to make sure your voters’ list is regularly updated and that is what’s happening here so always the people who have died and people who moved out the country or whatever, you need to make sure it’s regularly updated and that’s the most important thing,” the British Envoy said.
The British High Commissioner said too that the real test is on E-day where voters are required to provide authentic identification. She said she is “satisfied” and thinks that “mechanisms are there.”
Asked whether she thought Guyana needed a brand new registration, Miller said she would be guided by what she has been told. “From what I have heard, I think the list is good enough and I think we just need to make sure that there are those mechanisms in place to make sure it is regularly updated and verified.”
However, on Tuesday at his party’s weekly press conference Norton said, “While we pursue good relations with all countries, we are committed to ensuring our decisions are made by the people of Guyana and therefore we abhor the attempt by any diplomat to impose their will on the people of Guyana.”
The Opposition Leader continued, “The Guyanese people have long concluded that the present voters’ list is bloated and therefore we need no one to tell us that with safeguards, the list can be used.”
Norton told reporters that the British High Commissioner was informed about the state of the Voters’ List during a meeting between the Coalition APNU+AFC and the ABCE countries.
“It is interesting that the ABCE countries chose to be briefed together, but the British High Commissioner chose to go it all alone in making her ill-informed comments. The High Commissioner must be reminded that all the observers to the 2020 elections underscored the need for a clean voters’ list,” he said.
Norton reminded that calls have been made by the Opposition “for biometrics at the place of poll.” He called on the British High Commissioner to state whether the safeguards she referred to include biometrics at the place of poll.
“We reiterate our position that we will continue to struggle for a clean voters’ list since credible elections demand a credible list,” he declared.
The Opposition has repeatedly questioned the integrity of the Voters’ List while raising concerns about the holding of future elections with the existing list.
On Sunday, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Alliance For Change (AFC) announced that the party will not contest the Local Government Elections (LGE) slated for March 13, 2023 unless the current voters’ list is sanitised.
“The AFC has concluded that no election should be held on the existing list of electors because it is bloated, illegitimate and a source of electoral fraud, as demonstrated during the publicised national recount,” a press release from the Party stated.
Both the government and the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) have rebuffed calls for a clean voters’ list before the hosting of LGE.
The AFC said that the current list prima facie contains the names of the deceased, migrated and duplicates.
“It is manifest that our electoral system is far from perfect, but we must not wilfully perpetuate a deception on the people of Guyana. During the national election in 2020, there were multiple instances where dead people, the migrated, and a host of other shenanigans interfered with the electoral process. We should not go there again!”
The Party said that its NEC believes that participating in the upcoming elections with “a list proven deficient and containing widespread discrepancies would perpetrate a fraud on the Guyanese people and undermine our democratic system.”
The AFC said it has already called on the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to produce a credible voters’ list by conducting a certifiable house-to-house verification and registration process.
“Accordingly, we would go as far as supporting the postponement of the LGE as was done in 1992 to present a “clean” voters’ list to the electorate” the press release said while adding that the party has indicated its acceptance of the use of biometrics and electronic equipment to enhance citizens’ voting experience.
Further, the part noted that the aforementioned measures will reduce the propensity for impersonation.
“The people of Guyana have a right to feel confident in its electoral system, like the voting public in the United Kingdom or elsewhere, without unnecessary workarounds,” the party concluded.
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