APNU fails to attend meeting it requested with GECOM
…as GECOM debunks misinformation peddled by protesters in front of offices
A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) has been pushing for a meeting with the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) for some time, but on Tuesday, the party was a no-show.
GECOM Commissioner Sase Gunraj revealed on his social media page that Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton and his delegation did not attend a scheduled meeting on Tuesday. In an interview with this publication, GECOM Public Relations Officer Yolanda Ward confirmed that a virtual meeting had been scheduled for 13:00h on Tuesday.
“Today (Tuesday) when checks were made so that we could send the login details to the representatives, they informed that apparently there was some logistical error on their part and the letter was not received,” Ward said.
When asked for an update on the meeting during a virtual press conference on Tuesday, the Opposition Leader had said that GECOM had requested specifics on what he wanted to meet them about. According to him, APNU was in the process of complying with this request.
While Ward acknowledged that GECOM had requested specifics on the meeting, she said that after not receiving any response from Norton, GECOM had decided to go ahead with the meeting anyway. She said that GECOM then proceeded to send another letter with details on the meeting, late last week.
“There was a subsequent letter that was sent, informing that the Commission had agreed to meet with them even though we had not received a response… and that is the letter that they indicated there might have been some logistical errors internally and it might not have reached the designated person. As a result of that, there was a request for the meeting to be rescheduled.”
It is expected that APNU wants to meet to discuss its concerns about a clean voters’ list and possibly even the Revised List of Electors that is necessary for the conduct of Local Government Elections (LGE), which is scheduled for next year.
Norton has been vocal at successive press conferences about these issues and on Monday, members of the coalition party were seen involved in small protests at various GECOM regional offices, repeating his calls.
In fact, GECOM had cause to debunk what it termed as misinformation being peddled by the protesters, who accused GECOM, among other things, of not publishing a Register of Voters within the statutory timeframe and not sanitising the list.
GECOM released a statement on Tuesday making reference to the protests. According to the electoral agency, claims that the Register of Voters is overdue is nothing more than misinformation, since GECOM is well within the timeframe.
Already, they have posted the Revised List of Electors in the public domain, in accordance with the regulations. GECOM also noted that the Register of Voters will be extracted on November 26, 2022, and distributed to Returning Officers countrywide.
According to GECOM, opening of the registers for public scrutiny is scheduled to start on December 1. They therefore made it clear the protesters are being misleading.
When it comes to calls for a clean voters’ list, GECOM reminded that Guyanese citizens or commonwealth citizens domiciled in Guyana, cannot be removed from the list unless through death reports or Claims and Objections. GECOM went on to urge persons to stop peddling misinformation, lest it affects voters’ confidence.
The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has already designated December 12, 2022, as nomination day for the upcoming LGE, which are set to be held next year March. On nomination day, parties make their way to a designated location, where their representatives are usually required to submit their list of candidates to the Chief Election Officer, as well as sign on to the required documents, such as a code of conduct, to contest the elections.
These representatives are usually accompanied by a large retinue of their supporters, dressed in party colours, although all the parties who submit symbols do not always make a grand entrance or even go at all.
Parties, voluntary groups and individuals are meanwhile required to submit their symbols in accordance with Section 48 (1) of the Local Authorities (Elections) Act, Cap 28:03. The law requires that these symbols be submitted at least 21 days before nomination day.
The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), has already signalled its readiness to contest the upcoming LGE. As far back as August, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, who is the General Secretary of the PPP/C, had said that the party is in preparation mode for LGE. (G3)