HAPPENING NOW: Political Parties gearing up to present Candidates’ lists to GECOM

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PPP supporters get ready to join party leaders as they submit their lists (Romel Roopnarine photo)

At least 19 political parties are moments away from making submissions of their lists of candidates and nominators to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) in their bid to contest the upcoming March 2 elections.

Today’s Nomination Day proceedings are being held at the Umana Yana in Kingston, Georgetown, commencing from 13:00h until 17:00h. Each party is required to submit their lists of candidates for the election of a President, members of the National Assembly and members of the Regional Democratic Councils to the Chief Elections Officer.

The law prescribed that the submissions of the lists of candidates and nominators will have to be done strictly on Nomination Day and within the timeframe set – no time earlier or later.

Each parties’ National Top-Up List should comprise of 300-330 nominators, 42 candidates (persons to be elected to sit in National Assembly) who all need a singed statutory declaration form in the presence of a Commissioner of Oath or Justice of Peace, and include the name of the Presidential Candidate.

The Statutory Declaration form is what candidates sign to indicate that they are Guyanese and conform to other requirements set out in the law.

Meanwhile, the Geographical Constituency (Administrative Regions) List must include 150-175 nominators from each constituency and no more than 45 candidates.

With regards to the Regional Elections, the Regional Democratic Council List must comprise of 150-175 nominators for each constituency – all residing in the said region, and 12 to 36 candidates also from within the region. They too are required to sign a statutory form.

APNU/AFC supporters eagerly await their party’s procession (APNU/AFC photo) 

Candidates and Nominators can only appear on one party’s lists – both National Top-up and Geographical Constituency Lists – but only on one of that party’s geographical lists.

These requirements, as well as others, will be examined by the Chief Elections Officer and those parties’ whose lists do not meet all the requirements will be deemed defective. However, the CEO will inform of the defective list(s) and the respective parties will one day to make corrections and resubmit the lists.

While the two main political parties – PPP/C and the A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) coalition – have been gearing up for the upcoming polls, there has been the formation of several new and small parties over the past months.

These include: A New and United Party (ANUG), Federal United Party (FED UP), Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), Citizenship Initiative (CI), Change Guyana, The New Movement (TNM), People’s Republic Party (PRP), Kingdom Liberal Movement (KLM), Destiny to Oneness, National Congress of Progressive People’s Alliance, the Cooperative Republicans of Guyana and the Guyana United Democratic Party (UDP), Guyana National Service Party (GNS), the Democratic National Congress (DNC), the United Republic Party (URP), Horizon and Star and Organisation for the Victory of the People.

Meanwhile, yesterday, the Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) had made a stern call to the elections body to institute criminal charges against any party or individuals who present lists carrying forged names.

This call was made on the heels of a previous situation on Nomination Day ahead of the November 2018 Local Government Elections (LGE), whereby dozens of names on the lists and signatures purporting to be backers of candidates were palpably defective because of forgeries.

In fact, some the 50 persons of the Whim-Bloomfield Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) in Berbice, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) had their names fraudulently affixed to the backers’ lists for LGE in the Ancient County. They claimed that they were tricked into signing an Alliance for Change (AFC) nominators’ lists to contest the Local Government polls.

This led the PPP to file legal actions to have the names removed. However, High Court Judge, Justice Navindra Singh, dismissed the cases saying that after investigations, he did not find any evidence to convince him that the nominators were forced to sign the list.

As such, PPP Executive Member and former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, is urging GECOM to take the necessary criminal actions anyone who is implicated in such acts.