Opposition says will not recognise voters list arising from present House-to-House registration

GECOM's Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield
Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has made their position clear, that they will not recognise any voters’ list arising from the present House-to-House Registration being carried out since it is likely to disenfranchise thousands of Guyanese.

This was communicated by the party on Monday, whereby they slammed the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) for embarking on the exercise and urged Guyanese, particularly their supporters, not to support the activity.

The party made it pellucid that its leadership met on Monday and decided that to participate in the Guyana Elections Commission’s national House-to-House Registration will make it complicit in aiding and abetting the violation of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) June 18, 2019, rulings and July 12, 2019, consequential orders, which upheld the Guyana Constitution.

GECOM’s Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield

The party reminded that in the rulings and consequential orders, the CCJ had stressed the need for elections to have been held since March 21, 2019. It was also pointed out that the CCJ had stressed the responsibility GECOM has to adhere to the Constitution.

According to the PPP, the approach to the court to bring an injunction to stop the national House-to-House Registration is one stage of the struggle to ensure that constitutional rule is preserved. “The PPP is convinced that this House-to-House exercise is intended to deliberately de-register thousands of Guyanese voters. The objective is to delay elections to facilitate the APNU/AFC Government remaining in office illegally after September 18th 2019.”

Instead of House-to-House Registration, a process which GECOM’s lawyer Stanley Marcus told the CCJ would take until Christmas, the PPP insisted that the electoral agency commence the Claims and Objections period. The party made it clear it would not recognise the validity of the voters’ list produced during House-to-House Registration, a development which would mean the party might not recognise elections held with the list.

On Sunday Private Sector Commission (PSC) Chairman Gerry Gouveia in a strongly worded letter had upbraided GECOM’s Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield for proceeding with House-to-House Registration when the Constitution and CCJ rulings require elections in three months.

Lowenfield has since responded to the letter, attempting to justify the exercise by citing advise provided by GECOM’s Legal Officer, Excellence Dazzell. According to Lowenfield, upon his request, Dazzell advised him that he could act based on an order from former Chairman James Patterson because it was issued before the CCJ ruled and invalidated his appointment.

Patterson’s order to commence House-to-House Registration was dated June 11, 2019. Subsequently, the CCJ ruled on June 18 that he was unconstitutionally appointed by the President.