Amidst concerns by the Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) – the largest party in the APNU, which forms the majority in the Coalition government – is pushing for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to conduct a house to house registration ahead of this year’s Local Government Elections.
The PPP in a statement earlier this week had raised concerns about the sanitisation of the list of registered voters and has since called for due diligence by the elections regulatory body.
However, General Secretary of the PNCR and Chief Scrutineer of the Coalition, Amna Ally, said in a statement on Thursday that the Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo seems to be living in the past and reminisces of “his ungodly acts” in the electoral process.
“This is not the PPP/C Government. This Coalition Government believes in authenticity….. Minister of Citizenship, Hon. Winston Felix was quite in order when he said that “GRO’s process was transparent and does not include partisanship,” Ally posited.
Ally further stated that her party believes in having a sanitised and realistic list of electors and as such, recommends that GECOM goes ahead with a ‘house to house’ registration.
“This is not the time for us to fiddle or attempt to confuse. The Coalition Government is delivering on all fronts in our quest to ensure that all Guyanese enjoy a good life. Let us truly sanitize the list of electors by having ‘house to house’ registration, hence all those who are alive will be on the list,” the Government’s Chief Whip added.
She went onto call out the former President for not digitizing records during his two term tenure.
The digitalisation of records at the General Registrar’s Offices (GRO) has been among various issues the Opposition has raised. In fact back in March, Jagdeo had called for an audit to be done on the digitisation of records, saying that there might be attempts to fiddle with the registration process at the GRO using the digitisation of records as the cover for “fictitious names being registered, which could then be used, (seeing) that it is registered with the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).”
The Opposition Leader had also urged GECOM to pay careful attention to the issue, because the integrity of that entity’s data base would depend heavily on the source documents being issued by the GRO. He further asserted that the integrity of the disgitisation process is vital.
“We in the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) are paying careful attention to this, given what has happened historically — that the heavy padding of the voters list with fictitious names was a norm under previous Government sometime back in our history,” Jagdeo recalled.
Meanwhile, the Guyana Elections Commission along with stakeholders has commenced cleansing the list of deceased persons, based upon information generated by the General Registrar’s Office, which is responsible for the issuance of certificates of death.
However, the PPP pointed out that while the removal of names of persons who have died from the list of registered electors is a responsibility of GECOM that is guided by strict laws and rules, the elections body can only do so based on a certified list of persons who have died issued by the GRO.
To this end, the Opposition explained that GECOM issued five lists of persons who have died during December 2015 to March 2016 and one of those lists, is of persons who have died but were not on the list of registered electors.
However, the Opposition disclosed that upon reviewing the list it was discovered that a significant number of those names are in fact on the list of registered electors and will remain there.