APNU/AFC pollster urges Govt to call election now with existing OLE

…can be cleaned up in Claims and Objections period
The A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) pollster, Peter Wickham appeared on a News Talk Radio Guyana panel discussion on Sunday, recommending that President David Granger calls general and regional elections as soon as possible without House-to-House Registration.
In a panel discussion post Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) consequential orders, the political scientist argued that the coalition Government would have contested the 2011 and 2015 polls with the list that expired on April 30, 2019 and won same.
According to a Demerara Waves article, Wickham stated, “I personally don’t think that the list is in a bad shape and I believe if you won once on the list, you can probably win a second time on the list.” In fact, Wickham, who runs the Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES), predicted that if an election was called, there would be a close fight between the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) and the APNU/AFC.
Further, on the radio show, Wickham posited that there were bloated voters’ lists in almost every Caribbean country, since names of migrants and deceased persons were not easily removed. On this note, he added that this could be corrected by a Claims and Objections period.
“The reality of the electoral lists all over the Region is an unfortunate one. There are many countries in the Region where the list is easily one-third larger than the size of the actual population for many different reasons,” he said, according to the Demerara Waves article.
He also made reference to the 2016 and 2018 Local Government Elections (LGE) in which the same voters’ list was used. As such, he believes that the law can be amended for the life of the list to be extended and subjected to a Claims and Objections period.
In June, the CCJ validated a no-confidence motion against the Government, triggering the need for early elections in accordance with Article 106 (6) and 106 (7) of the Constitution.
In the Government’s submission of consequential orders, Attorney General Basil Williams held out that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) must proceed with national registration.
He said the Court should order that “the registration of persons for the purpose of ascertaining who is qualified to be an elector is by ‘house to house’ visits as provided for under section 3(1) of the Elections Law (Amendment) Act of 2000.”
This has been opposed by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, who urged that a Claims and Objections period would solve the problem.
However, the holding of an election is not possible, since the CCJ had also ruled that the unilateral appointment of GECOM Chairman, Retired Justice James Patterson was a breach of Guyana’s Constitution. He has since resigned.
CCJ President, Justice Adrian Saunders declared in the ruling that before President David Granger rejected persons nominated by Opposition Leader Jagdeo, reasons should have been given for the rejections in the interest of transparency.
However, in handing down its consequential orders on Friday, the CCJ had urged that Guyana’s political leaders appoint a new GECOM Chairman with the utmost urgency. This is especially in light of its previous June 18 ruling validating the December No-Confidence Motion thus triggering the need for fresh elections by September 18.