GECOM discusses March 2020 elections date

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The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has proposed for elections to be held in March 2020, more than a year after the government was defeated by a motion of no-confidence.

After a more than four hours long meeting on Friday, both opposition and government-aligned commissioners disclosed to media operatives that this is one among several timelines proposed by the Secretariat.

“We have now at least four proposals from the Secretariat which suggests that elections will be held in March of next year,” Commissioner Robeson Benn stated, noting that the opposition commissioners are not in support of the proposal.

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

Government-aligned commissioner Vincent Alexander confirmed that March 2020 is one of the dates discussed during the meeting.

“The document which was before us, the proposition was March. But that document is under revision,” Alexander explained.

“So, I would prefer to not be specific about a date. But indeed, the document before us did say March [2020],” he added.

According to the commissioners, one of the activities proposed to be undertaken by GECOM during that period is the printing of new national identification cards. The People’s Progressive Party/Civic on Thursday has called for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to commence preparations for the hosting of General and Regional Elections, saying that too much time has passed already.

In a statement, the PPP pointed out that since the appointment of Justice (ret’d) Claudette Singh as Chair, GECOM has had over four meetings and yet it is nowhere closer to starting preparations for what was supposed to be early elections.

“Too much time has passed already. The party stresses the call for GECOM to begin preparations for elections now,” the missive stated.

According to the PPP, it seems as though the Constitution of Guyana and the rulings of the courts are secondary in the considerations of GECOM. It reminded that the Constitution remains the supreme law of the land and that GECOM has a responsibility to uphold it.

On August 27, the GECOM has taken a decision to halt the ongoing house-to-house registration process effective August 31.

The elections body had acknowledged that the no confidence motion passed in the National Assembly on 21st December, 2018 triggered a number of legal challenges in the local Courts and concluded with a ruling by the Caribbean Court of Justice.

Newly selected GECOM Chair (ret’d) Justice Claudette Singh

The body further stated that cognizant of all that has transpired over the past months, GECOM has an obligation to produce a credible Official List of Electors (OLE) in the first instance and ultimately credible elections within the shortest possible time.

With the halting of the House to House process, the Commission will move to an extensive Claims and Objections Exercise (C&O) before extracting the Preliminary List of Electors (PLE).