Drama at GECOM continues …Govt, Opposition commissioners differ on proposal to publish list of H2H registrants

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Government Commissioners Desmond Trotman, Vincent Alexander and Charles Corbin

One half of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has denied that any decision was made by the Commission to publish the list of registrants captured during the recent House-to-House exercise, throwing further uncertainty into the exercise.

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP)-nominated Commissioners Sase Gunraj, Robeson Benn and Bibi Shadick on Wednesday evening said that such a decision was never taken by the full Commission.

“We read reports in the press, attributed to Commissioner Charles Corbin, that the Guyana Elections Commission will proceed to publish the entire list of persons registered during the House-to-House (H2H) exercise from Thursday, 24th October, 2019,” the Commissioners said in a statement.

Government Commissioners Desmond Trotman, Vincent Alexander and Charles Corbin

According to the Commissioners, they have since informed the Chairperson of GECOM, Retired Justice Claudette Singh, of this misinformation and have requested her intervention. Moreover, they made their objections to the move clear.

It was announced on Tuesday that GECOM had completed the encoding process for data gathered from the recent House-to-House exercise and that fingerprints would be sent overseas to be cross-matched.

In his engagement with the media after the meeting, Commissioner Corbin had explained that the data gleaned from the encoding process will be put up for public scrutiny from today (Thursday). At the time, however, Gunraj had noted that while the proposal came up for discussion, there had been divisions at the Commission level about this approach.

“We discussed the House-to-House data. Specifically, we got back a report from the finger print cross-matching on a part of that data. What we are looking at now is what to do with it. A proposal is to publicise it for public scrutiny, but then to what end?” Gunraj had explained to the media.

“My questions at the meeting were, when you post it for public scrutiny, how does one deal with it? Is one allowed to make an objection? Is one allowed to make a claim? Is one allowed to ask questions about entries on that list? Those are questions that have to be answered by the Secretariat. Up to the present time, we have not received any proposal as to how those issues will be treated”.

GECOM Commissioners; from left, Sase Gunraj, Robeson Benn and Bibi Shadick

At the same time, Corbin himself had also called for the intervention of the GECOM Chair to steer GECOM in the right direction. He had noted that the time has come for Justice Singh to take a stand on certain matters. He pointed out that this is necessary in order to move the process forward.

“I think all the views associated with how to treat with all the data available to us, how to treat with all the transactions that are to be conducted during Claims and Objections, I think they have all been properly ventilated. I think positions have been adopted by all members of the Commission,” Corbin had said.