“Too much time has passed” – PPP calls for GECOM to begin elections preparation

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The Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) has slammed the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) for having not made any concrete decision towards the holding of early elections.

See full statement below:

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has had over four meetings, since the appointment of the new Chairperson, retired Justice, Claudette Singh, and we are nowhere closer to starting preparations for General and Regional Elections, which must commence with the production of a Preliminary List of Electors (PLE) from the National Register of Registrants.

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) notes the delay tactics being directed by the APNU+AFC Coalition government.

The government-nominated GECOM Commissioners continue to push for the merger of
unverified – and probably padded – data garnered from the now scrapped house-to-house
registration with the National Register of Registrants.

They have a complicit partner at the Secretariat of GECOM, as is evidenced by the production of timelines for election activities that accord with the APNU+AFC Coalition’s position on Elections in 2020 – despite the fact that Elections should have been held since March 21, 2019.

The position of the Party has been repeated ad nauseam – the data garnered from the now
scrapped house-to-house registration must not be used to contaminate the National Register of Registrants; a Preliminary List of Electors must be produced by GECOM; and there should be a move to Claims and Objections, which is a time-tested method, to allow for persons who are first time voters to be registered, among other transactions.

Talk about the production of re-designed national identification cards is wholly unnecessary at this point in time and is designed to delay the Elections. The history of the matter is well known; a national identification card is not necessary to vote, since other means of identification can be used. It must be noted that the European Union in its 2001 Observer report said: “In 1998 Esther Pereira, a PNC supporter, petitioned the High Court to set aside the results of the 1997…Justice Claudette Singh found that the requirement for voters to have a voter ID card in 1997 was ultra vires Articles 59 and 159 of the Constitution (despite a parliamentary agreement to use the cards). Consequently the elections were therefore null and void.”

Further, talk about cross-matching of fingerprints of the 370,822 persons GECOM claims to have registered during the now scrapped house-to-house registration stirs up more concerns. The purpose of this time-consuming and costly exercise is to try to identify the new registrants, which could easily be done otherwise.

However, it will not identify where padding occurs. Crossmatching of fingerprints will only ascertain where there are cases of duplicates. And in any case  cross-matching of the fingerprints will have to be done upon the completion of the Claims and Objections period.

Too much time has passed already. The Party stresses the call for GECOM to begin preparations for Elections now.

It would seem that the Constitution of Guyana and the rulings of the Court are secondary in the considerations of GECOM. The Constitution of Guyana remains the supreme law of the land and GECOM has a responsibility to uphold it.

Moreover, Guyana’s apex court – the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) – on July 12, 2019 made clear that Elections should have been held since March 21, 2019; this point was reiterated on August 14, 2019 by Chief Justice, Roxanne GeorgeWiltshire. Of import is that the CCJ made clear that: “The Guyana Elections Commission (“GECOM”) has the responsibility to conduct that election and GECOM too must abide by the provisions of the Constitution.”

The Guyanese people have a constitutional right that must be respected. Our Constitution must be respected. Our democratic standing cannot be diminished. Elections preparations must commence now.