Norton misinformed about protocols for Local Government Elections – Teixeira

Gail Teixeira, Governance and Parliamentary Affairs Minister

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira says Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton, is gravely misinformed about the regulations that govern the Preliminary List of Electors for the local government elections (LGE).

The Minister on Tuesday addressed Norton’s allegations of the 2022 PLE violating the constitutional rights of voters.

Norton had claimed in a statement that the list, which displays voters by division rather than constituency for LGE, violates the law.

However, Minister Teixeira contested the allegation, stating that the preliminary list of electors for LGE does not usually contain constituencies.

“The problem with Mr Norton’s statement is that the list of electors is broken down into constituencies when the list becomes an official list of electors, not the PLE, which is the preliminary list of electors.”

She explained that the PLE serves as a final opportunity for voters to confirm that their information is accurate so that any concerns can be brought forward.

The Minister also noted that before elections under the APNU+AFC Government, several Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) and municipality boundaries were changed under then Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan.

As a result, Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Nigel Dharamlall, issued orders to revert the boundaries to the locations they held before 2016. Those orders were presented to the National Assembly on Monday.

“All of this is in a consultative process which the minister led when he went to communities, went to NDCs, etc. And so out of that came these boundary shifts, and it’s going back to what it was before 2016 changes and 2018 changes made by [former] Minister Bulkan,” Minister Teixeira said.

Changes made include the division of the NDC for Numbers 52 and 74 Villages, Corentyne. She explained that since 20 communities made up the NDC, it was split for more efficient management.

“So, Minister Nigel, I believe, will have a meeting with the press to describe this in greater detail and to explain the procedures he went through, consultations he went through, etc.”

Coming back to the main issue, however, she reiterated that the PLE does not include constituencies for the local government elections.

Once the list has gone through the final correction, is reviewed by voters, and becomes the Official List of Electors (OLE), the constituencies will be reflected on that list, including those that were reverted to their pre-2016 state.

“As I said, Mr. Norton likes to make a mountain out of a molehill as they say. But fundamentally, he needs to have good legal advice and he seems not to be having it,” Minister Teixeira said.