Jagdeo says will fight to ensure eligible voters are not disenfranchised

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Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

In light of the APNU/AFC objections to thousands of living people, claiming them to be dead, the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) says it will continue to fight to ensure that Guyanese are not disenfranchised.

The Party has expressed fear of a ploy to disenfranchise thousands of voters with a whopping 13,000 objections that were made in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) during the recently concluded Objections leg of the Claims and Objection (C&O) exercise.

According to Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo at his weekly press conference on Thursday, most of the 13,000 objections were fortunately thrown out. But he noted that there are still hearings in the Moraikobai community.

“Imagine this is a small Amerindian community in the Mahaicony River and APNU has objected to 464 names on the list – almost the entire community they want to disenfranchise because they know that the PPP, in past elections, has gotten upwards of 90 per cent of the votes from that community. So they’re trying to get the people’s names off the voters’ list. Of course, we will fight this vigorously,” Jagdeo contended.

He went on to outline too that there were several objections in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) and 600 of those were also thrown out.

Moreover, the Opposition Leader further noted that it is illegal to object to someone alive, claiming them to be dead. In fact, he noted that persons making such objections can be charged.

He added too that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Registration Officers (ROs) are supposed to inform persons making objections that they can be handed over to the Police for making false objections.

PPP’s Chief Elections Scrutineer, Zulficar Mustapha, had said that the Party had done some digging and found many of the persons who were objected to be alive.

The Government side and President David Granger have repeatedly claimed that the voters’ list is bloated by over 200,000 names, hence the need for the controversial House-to-House (H2H) Registration— an exercise that ended up delaying GECOM’s preparations for early elections as both sides struggled for and against its conduct.

After the exercise was brought to an early end by GECOM Chair Retired Justice Claudette Singh following a High Court ruling, the seven-member Elections Commission has been at loggerhead over the merging of the H2H data with the voters’ lists.