House-to-house registration cannot be accommodated – GECOM Commissioner
Elections in 90 days
People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) representative on the Guyana Elections Commission, Bibi Shadick on Tuesday made it clear that house-to-house registration could not be accommodated within 90 days.
As stipulated by the Constitution of Guyana following the no-confidence resolution, an election must be called in 90 days. For Guyana, that resolution was passed on December 21, 2018.
On Tuesday, Shadick made the position known as she was responding to her colleagues on the other side of the Commission who stated the present list could still contain a large number of dead voters and the only way to sanitise the list is to get a new one. It is believed that the People’s National Congress (PNC) Commissioners are pushing for house-to-house registration in order to have a delay in the hosting of Regional and National Elections.
“It is agreed that there is a valid list up to April 30. The thing is, we’re working with the fact that there is a valid list.”
“One of the Commissioners mentioned (house-to-house registration), but I don’t think that can be accommodated before an election. If that is accommodated, we’re saying to the Constitution, ‘go wherever you want, we’re doing what we want’. These are abnormal circumstances. So we have to deal with it in a different way.”
Back in November 2018, GECOM was able to deliver a Local Government Elections (LGC) with limited hiccups. In less than a month, however, a no- confidence motion was filed against the Government.
The no-confidence motion brought by the parliamentary Opposition – the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) – succeeded when Charrandas Persaud, a former Alliance For Change (AFC) parliamentarian, broke ranks and made a conscience vote in favour of the motion.
With the Government’s defeat, the next steps are spelt out in the Constitution of Guyana. 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: “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 has gone from promising to respect the vote to denying the vote’s validity on grounds that include an argument that 34 out of 65 should have been a majority vote. A court case has been filed seeking, among other things, a stay of the elections pending a ruling.
That and other related cases came up for hearing last Tuesday, but acting Chief Justice Roxane George committed to a ruling by the end of this month, while noting that such an order would be unnecessary.
The Opposition Leader has already warned that if elections are not facilitated within 90 days and there is no parliamentary agreement to extend this time, Guyana will have in place an unconstitutional government.