AFC has about 113,000 reasons to hide from 2023 LGE

Dear Editor,
First, Guyanese should ignore the call from the Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan, to boycott the elections. People have a reason to go to the polls: our country is developing rapidly, and we play an important role in democracy and in holding leaders accountable, unlike when his APNU-AFC Coalition Government was in office and voter turnout dropped to below 50%.
A section of the media reported “The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) yesterday confirmed that a mere 36.3%, or 208,534 of the 573,923 registered electors turned up to cast their ballots when the 2018 Local Government Elections (LGE) were held across the country on Monday. The figure represents a more than 10% decline from the 47.1% recorded for the 2016 LGE. At the time of those elections, 239,070 of the 507,584 persons eligible to vote cast their ballots.
Based on these figures, this year’s polls saw over 30,000 fewer voters.”
That people did not participate as they should says a lot about the governance at the time. The fact that the PPPC won significantly at the 2018 LGE also says that the APNU-AFC Coalition Government could not mobilise their own people to go out and vote. In contrast, by the time that the 2020 General and Regional Elections came around, an opportunity to change the Government, voter turnout was 72.58%.
Secondly, Mr. Ramjattan claims that his political party (if we can still call his outfit that) has valid reasons for not contesting the elections, and the main one is the Voters’ List. But the truth is that: one, the APNU did not go the 2018 LGE with the AFC, and the AFC is likely to be left on its own again. Two, the AFC was beaten by the PPPC by 113,000 votes. And three, the AFC is unlikely to make any kind of inroads at the 2023 LGE. On the issue of the Voters’ List, as per Guyana’s Constitution and a ruling of the High Court, Guyanese who were registered to vote but have since migrated cannot be removed from the Voters’ List. The report from Elections Observer Missions (EOMs) in 2020 recognized that this contributed to the total number on the Voters’ List.
The final report from the Election Observer Mission sent by the Carter Center, on page 10 said: “The number of registered voters seems disproportionate to Guyana’s estimated population, in part because Guyana allows Guyanese living overseas to remain on the voters list.”
The European Union Election Observer Mission, in their final report, on page 16, said: “…Guyana’s high emigration rate may be the most significant factor accounting for an ‘inflated’ list.” The line about a bloated Voters’ List is worn out already. Enough is enough.

Yours truly,
Anson Paul