With this round of Continuous Registration set to wrap up this month, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has processed close to 15,000 new registrants thus far in the exercise.
This was revealed by GECOM’s Public Relations Officer, Yolanda Ward while providing an update to this publication. The ongoing registration cycle commenced on July 4, 2023, and is slated to conclude on November 30, 2023.
Ward disclosed that as of November 2, approximately 25,846 transactions were completed by the Elections Commission. Of these transactions, some 14,950 were new registrations including 9551 persons who are 18 years and older and another 5399 persons between the ages of 14 and 17.
Additionally, there were 1851 applications for transfer and a further 2300 who had applied for changes/corrections, that is, name change or spelling corrections and wrong date of birth.
The GECOM PRO also disclosed that some 6145 persons have applied for a replacement of their National Identification (ID) Cards while another 600 persons also applied for a photo retake.
With this round of Continuous Registration set to wrap up, teens who will be 14 years and older by the end of December 2023, and are Guyanese citizens by birth, descent, naturalisation, or registration, or citizens from a Commonwealth country living in Guyana for one year or more, can apply for registration, provided that they were never registered.
Existing registrants who are desirous of updating their records, such as a request to correct or change their names, date of birth, occupation, and update their addresses are advised that those transactions would also be facilitated during this exercise.
All eligible persons are reminded to visit the GECOM Registration Office responsible for the area where they live to apply for registration or changes/corrections.
Only Tuesday last, GECOM had advised persons who have applied for registration to check with the respective Registration Office where they had applied: to enquire about the availability of their National ID Card and to ensure that they uplift same at their earliest convenience.
The Commission, in a statement, said that provided there are no issues with an applicant’s registration transaction, an Identification Card is produced no later than six weeks from the time of the application.
GECOM has noted it is committed to producing and issuing National Identification Cards to first-time registrants within the shortest possible time. However, it is not unusual for this process to be held back amid the need to routinely conduct the crossmatching of the relevant fingerprints, on a monthly basis, to check for multiple registrations.
“The primary objective of the fingerprint cross-matching exercise is to ensure that no registrant is listed in the National Register of Registrants more than once,” GECOM has explained.
Meanwhile, registrants who have applied for a change or correction to their registration records, or for a replacement ID Card, can check with the Registration Office within two weeks of their application to uplift their ID Card. A full list of contact numbers for all the GECOM Registration Offices can be accessed on the website.
In March, the Guyana Government signed a US$35.4 million contract with German-based company Veridos Identity Solutions to implement the Single Electronic Identification System here. It would see new e-cards being issued to Guyanese for the conduct of a wide array of transactions, as well as to monitor the issuance of work permits in the country.
In October 2021, Guyana had reached out to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Government for assistance in introducing the electronic identification card. With the intervention of His Highness Sheikh Juma bin Dalmook Al Maktoum, two international companies were shortlisted.
Veridos, a global leading provider of integrated identity solutions, was subsequently selected, after making a presentation to the Guyana Government. It was explained that the evaluators found the partially-owned German Government company had presented the best solution for Guyana.
Later, in August, Prime Minister Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips presented the Digital Identity Card Bill to the National Assembly. This major endeavour to consolidate the biometric data of each citizen into one card with high-security features will offer greater protection against fraud, once implemented, the Government has said. The Government has already explained that this e-ID would not replace the National ID Card issued by GECOM.
Data that will be entered into the new identification card includes a person’s name, date and place of birth, photo or facial image satisfying the requirements for a photograph, unique identification number, sex, citizenship, fingerprints, and signature. In the case of a non-citizen, a number for the application of a work permit and any other data that the Commissioner may prescribe will have to be provided.