Opposition Chief Whip calls for investigation into claims of political interference in Region 1

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The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) says it is paying keen attention to reports of political interference in the work of the Guyana Registration Office’s (GRO) Outreach Team in Region One (Barima-Waini) by Government Member of Parliament (MP) Richard Allen.

Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira

This is according to Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira during a telephone interview with this publication.

It was reported that Allen is directing the outreach team as to which areas they should visit and to whom they should issue new birth certificates.

In some instances, Allen is reportedly uplifting birth certificates and issuing them to civilians.

Teixeira said the Opposition is aware of the Government MP embedding himself in the work of the GRO and ultimately bringing into question the integrity of the process.

“It is alarming that a politician is involved in this; and his active involvement in guiding the team in issuing birth certificates in Region One and taking back birth certificates that were issued and distributing them brings into question the integrity of the process,” she noted.

Government Member of Parliament (MP) Richard Allen

“It obviously equates the question about what could and could not happen in relation to the (voters) list, because right now there is continuous registration going on and claims and objections period as well,” Teixeira added.

She called on the GRO to launch an investigation into the incident, to determine whether the integrity of the process was compromised or not.

Regional Chairman for Region one, Brentnol Ashley was the one who brought the issue to light in a statement to the media. He identified Allen as interfering in the business of several state agencies and elected bodies in the region.

The Citizenship Ministry Outreach Team is currently in the region, and is reported to have registered over 170 persons for birth certificates in two days.

However, Ashley is questioning the process used to identify the persons for birth certificates, since, according to the ministry, “the team is being guided by Allen.”

“Local Government elections are due this year, and birth registration documents are critical for the national registration of voters. In the past, the toshaos and other community leaders have been the ones who have worked with the GRO team, as they are knowledgeable of the eligibility of residents in their communities.

However, M.P Allen’s accompanying and directing the GRO team to who needs birth certificates, and subsequently distributing birth certificates, is highly questionable and suspect,” Ashley noted.

He also identified that Allen is distributing pension books to residents, despite the Social Protection Ministry informing the Regional Democratic Council that “no individual that is not employed by the Social Protection Ministry can uplift pension books to distribute.”

Additionally, Ashley noted that Allen has all these privileges despite not being employed with any state agency in the Region.

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