GECOM’s continuous registration kick-starts today

The continuous registration exercise, spearheaded by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), will commence today from all permanent Registration Offices in the various administrative regions.
This process is necessary in updating the List of Electors and paving the way for the hosting of Local Government Elections (LGE). GECOM has 28 permanent  Registration Offices located in the 10 administrative regions.
According to GECOM, this registration exercise is of crucial importance to first-time applicants, regarded as those persons who would have been 14 to 18 years of age, that were captured during the 2019 House-to-House registration.
Last week, a press release by GECOM stated, “All such persons are required to note that their application for registration has been cancelled. Therefore, those persons are required to reapply for registration during this registration exercise.”
Any person, who will be 14 years or older by October 31, 2022, and is a Guyanese citizen by birth, descent, or naturalisation or is a citizen from a Commonwealth country living in Guyana for one year or more can apply for registration, provided that he or she was never registered before.
They are required to visit the GECOM Registration Office responsible for their area of residence with the relevant source documents: original birth certificate, valid passport, adoption certificate or naturalisation certificate in the case of new registration.
For change of name, the original marriage certificate or deed poll with birth certificate is required.
Existing registrants, who are desirous of updating their records, such as a request to correct or change their names, date of birth, occupation or update their addresses are advised that those transactions would also be facilitated during this exercise.
Last week, Guyana Timeshad reported that GECOM had issued instructions to Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Vishnu Persaud, to commence preparations for continuous registration, an important step towards the holding of LGE.
It is also understood that GECOM is looking to have an updated voters’ list in place by October, in order for the LGE to be held. The last time GECOM conducted continuous registration was in 2019, in preparation for the March 2020 General and Regional Elections.
Over $750 million has been set aside in Budget 2022 for the preparations to be undertaken by GECOM for the hosting of LGE this year. This money is part of an overall $4.1 billion allocation to GECOM in Budget 2022, and was examined and approved by the National Assembly during its consideration of the 2022 Budget Estimates.
Included in the $783 million for LGE is a more-than-$300 million increase in “other goods and services purchased”, which jumped from $250.8 million in 2021 to $575.9 million in the 2022 Budget.
LGE are constitutionally due every two years in Guyana, and were last held in 2018. However, given the fiasco that played out following the 2020 General and Regional Elections, the Local Government polls were deferred to 2021.
At the last LGE in November 2018, the then People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Opposition had secured 52 of the 80 Local Authority Areas (LAAs). This followed the holding of the LGE in 2016, during which the PPP/C also claimed the majority of the LAAs.
The registration exercise will conclude on May 29, 2022.