Merging of H2H data will take elections to 2020 – Jagdeo

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While lauding the Guyana Elections Commission’s (GECOM) recent decision to scrap the House to House (H2H registration exercise, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo said that the plans to merge the data with the existing database will push the hosting of early elections to 2020.

Speaking at his weekly press conference today (August 29, 2019), Jagdeo reiterated his party’s opposition to the merging of data.

He argued that there is a much simpler way of ensuring that everyone, including new registrants, get on the voters’ list.

The Opposition Leader explained that of the 285,000 registrations that were obtained during the H2H exercise, only approximately 2000 are new registrants.

As such, instead of adding the more than 280,000 registrations to the existing National Register of Registrants database which would have massive repetition, Jagdeo said GECOM should filter out those new registrants and have them re-register at their local divisions.

This, he added, will save some three months off the merging process.

“With this merger, the optimistic scenario is to go to Claims and Objections in November because the merger will make about three months and then elections on the 27th April, next year. So you understand this merger will not improve the database. It’s a delaying tactic once again,” he stated.

“If you don’t merge the data, you have a simpler way of capturing all these people by getting the 2000 new registrants of the 285,000 to just go back and get re-registered,” he explained, adding that this time the registrations will be done consistent with GECOM’s manual, which says that it must be done in the presence of scrutinizers from the parties.

This, Jagdeo said, did not happen in the House to House exercise.

According to the Opposition Leader, his party has already fought to prevent the contamination of the voters’ list and now there seems to be a new battle being fought, that is, to ensure that elections are being held on time.

“That is what we’re now attempting; to ensure that this so called merger of unverified data with a verified database doesn’t contaminate the database and doesn’t fall into APNU’s plan again to delay the elections using this so called merger, which is unnecessary, for another three months,” he contended.

Nevertheless, Jagdeo is hopeful that the Elections Commission will make the right decision on the way forward.

“All we’re saying to GECOM, without telling them what to do, is that the Constitution of Guyana stands above everything else. The caretaker President is not respecting the Constitution but we expect, we have great faith that under the new leadership-GECOM will,” he asserted.

Earlier this week, the Justice Claudette Singh-led Elections Commission announced that the H2H registration will be scrapped on August 31, and the information gathered thus far will be merged with the existing database.