Current voters list valid & proper – GECOM Commissioner

…says house-to-house registration unnecessary

House-to-house registration has been touted as necessary by Government Commissioners before elections can be held, but according to the Opposition-nominated Commissioners, the voters’ list is valid and such a process is wholly unnecessary.

Citizenship Minister Winston Felix during a visit to the General Registry Office

Commissioners Bibi Shadick, Sase Gunraj and Robeson Benn were at the time appearing on a television programme. On the programme, e “Elections 2019; what is GECOM’s mandate?”, the Commissioners were adamant that GECOM has the capacity to hold elections by March 19.
Commissioner Bibi Shadick noted that even if the list has a few deceased persons on it, there are checks and balances at polling stations to weed this out.
“We have a list. It is valid up to the 30th of April. That list was just proven at the Local Government Elections. There were no complaints from anybody. Nobody challenged the list. Nobody challenged the results of those elections. And we have to understand that that list is valid and proper,” she said.
Shadick also pointed out that the General Registry Office (GRO) is supposed to be constantly helping to update this list.
“OK, we admit that there are dead people’s names on that list,” she hypothesised. “But that’s not a difficult thing to take away. In fact, there are so many checks and balances at the polling stations, nobody that was dead and on that list went and vote at the (Local Government Elections).

GECOM Commissioner Bibi Shadick

“Names of dead people can be (removed), but that is an in-house process. That is the GRO giving information and according to the law, you remove names. That has nothing to do with going house to house and find out who is alive. To try and do house-to-house registration now is an effort, and I’m fully prepared to say it, to have them violate what the Constitution is asking for. “We all understand that the government has fallen, Cabinet has to resign, and elections have to be called within 90 days. Now that is what GECOM should know. There is a work plan that they produced. Between then and now, there are other things that have happened. GECOM cannot be political! It is a constitutional agency.”
Article 106 (6) of the Constitution states: “The Cabinet including the President shall resign if the Government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly on a vote of confidence.”
Meanwhile, clause 7 goes on to state that “Notwithstanding its defeat, the Government shall remain in office and shall hold an election within three months, or such longer period as the National Assembly shall by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the votes of all the elected members of the National Assembly determine, and shall resign after the President takes the oath of office following the election.”
Government lost such a no-confidence vote on December 21, 2018. However, there is no word on when elections will be held. In the meantime, there are several related court cases that rulings are expected for on Thursday.
Guyana Times understands that with approximately 500,000 persons on the voters’ list, house-to-house registration could take as much as six months. Commissioners had said that $3 billion of GECOM’s budget was for this exercise. Back in November 2018, GECOM was able to deliver a LGE with limited hiccups using the same voters’ list.