“We’re nowhere closer to elections” – Opposition GECOM Commissioners

GECOM Commissioners; from left, Sase Gunraj, Robeson Benn and Bibi Shadick

After another round of discussions, Opposition-nominated Commissioners at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) are contending that their time was wasted, with no decision made on the way forward.

“Wasted day… we are nowhere closer to the decisions of holding elections. We sat down and dealt with lots of irrelevant discussions, I believe, to holding credible elections in a timely manner,” Commissioner Sase Gunraj told reporters after Tuesday’s meeting.

According to Gunraj, the production of identification cards was placed on the agenda. However, he said that these proposals could delay elections by months.

“We’re hearing about production of ID cards now. The smallest timeframe provided by secretariat is 92 days. And it goes all the way to 140 days.”

“While those are overlapping events, those are things that will take a long time. And all the courts have spoken about the necessity of elections. I don’t believe we have to worry about the issue of production of id cards at this time,” Gunraj said.

Asked directly if Jamaica is a potential location for producing the ID cards, Gunraj did not confirm or deny.

There was also no decision on cross matching house to house data. According to Gunraj, a timeframe for claims and objections was not even discussed.

This is despite Chairperson Claudette Singh ordering that extended claims and objections be held after house-to-house registration exercise ended on August 31.

Commissioner Robeson Benn also strongly criticised the meeting for not being fruitful. “There are no updates. There is no appetite in my view at GECOM for the holding of elections. Every ruse, every resort, every stratagem is being employed to further delay elections,” Benn said.

However, government-nominated commissioner Vincent Alexander contends that these are necessary steps before timelines can be laid down.

“Decisions have not yet been made. We have not finalised timelines. We’re trying to settle some principles. Once those are settled, then we’ll define timelines based on proposals from the secretariat.”

GECOM’s next meeting is scheduled for Friday, at 11:00hrs.