GECOM must commence preparations now

Dear Editor,
The erroneous responses from the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) regarding timelines for various aspects of its preparatory mechanism mean that the Government cannot call snap elections if this is strategic or necessary. This situation defies logic and is clearly in conflict with the previous precedence of the dates of announcements in 2006 and 2011. On both occasions, the period GECOM had to achieve full readiness was less than 35 days before the mandatory nominations period and this was achieved.
The constitutional intent of Article 106 is that all actions necessary under any other legislation be modified to realise the elections with convenient speed. The stipulated timeline of 90 days connotes the immediacy of actions to realise this end. That fact that the List of Voters is legally valid until the end of April 2019 indicates the necessity for activating the use of such a list being in place at GECOM. There is no doubt that GECOM ought to have had by now, a reliable and fully trained pool of polling officials who would need only minimal refresher training.
Given the recently held Local Government Elections (LGE) a mere two months ago, the training of polling staff should require minimal refresher approaches and this does not require awaiting the close of nominations. It can be completed adequately on the weekends within approximately 35 days from now to March 19, 2019.
If it takes 30 groups of trainers to address the necessary expediency, this should be done because the Constitution emphasiSes these actions in light of the acceptance that the fallen Government is a stronger threat to the nation than any other matter of priority.
The identification of 105 days for training by the secretariat is woefully abusive, and directly in conflict with the Constitution. The Chairman of GECOM, the Government’s representative Commissioners and the secretariat’s CEO are in effect holding the passports of citizens, as the APNU/AFC plunders and prostitutes.
According to GECOM, Nomination Day has to be at least 32 days before elections. This, therefore, means that it has become very difficult to hold the elections by March 19, 2019. This has signalled a constitutional crisis that will have far-reaching consequences. But it does not mean that a further 116 days should elapse between Nomination Day and Elections Day as announced by the secretariat.
The President’s failure to announce elections, is in effect, international condemnation of the State. There will be no Government after March 21, 2019, and this column, therefore, calls on Mr Granger to act in the interest of all Guyanese and pronounce a date for the General and Regional Elections now.
We call on GECOM to commence the preparations for free and fair elections now!

Neil Kumar