Home Letters No matter what they do, Guyana will be free
Common sense would inform any rational mind that these are times of emergency in Guyana. In such times, senior officials must act with a sense of urgency, but this seems not to be the case with GECOM in terms of fulfilling their responsibility in regard to the holding of General Elections.
It would be negligent of me, however, to not respond to the lethargic actions of people like GECOM Chairman James Patterson and his colleague Commissioner Desmond Trotman as they seek to glaringly misrepresent the logic and common sense behind this official voters’ list.
I listened carefully to Mr. Robert Corbin in the CCJ Court Room when he spoke about the National Registration Act Chap 19:08 and the Representation of the People’s Act Chap 1:03, and I must say he got it. So why do not Mr. Patterson and Mr. Trotman get it? Maybe if Mr. Corbin was potentially not the most attractive option to now lead the PNC out of its current electoral ravine, he might have made an excellent GECOM Commissioner.
People move, People change their names, People die, and People come of age. However, none of these events needs a house-to-house registration to be captured in times of a national emergency.
Even more importantly, none of these events poses an insurmountable challenge that cannot be fixed within six weeks. So I clearly cannot understand why Mr. Patterson is so doggedly attached to this concept that only a process of house-to-house registration can clean the list.
Let me, please, explain further, Mr. Editor. Young people come of age, meaning that they grow up to be old enough to become first-time voters. However, you do not need house-to-house registration to accurately and completely capture these first-time voters on the official voters’ list.
According to the National Registration Act Chap 19:08, (which Mr. Corbin referred to in his presentation), all Guyanese who are 14 years of age are eligible to be registered and be placed on a Central Register, which is then used to extract the Official Voters’ List which has the names of all the over-18-year-olds.
But those who are hell bent on delaying the elections will then say this list will still not be clean enough, because people moved, people changed their names, people died, and they are still on the list.
Nonetheless, if you put on your solutions cap and you focus on the fact that people moved and changed their names, then the solution is “no big thing”. Two weeks of an intense claims-and-objections period, with late opening up to 8 pm at nights in all the geographic districts, would easily solve that.
Then the negaholics might come up with another excuse, and ask, ‘What about those who died?’
Again, my response is “no big deal”. A formal request to the Head of the General Registrar’s Office (GRO) for a list of all the names for which death certificates were issued would quickly solve that problem. That list can be used to remove the names of the dead from the Official Voters List. That, again, would take no longer than two weeks to be accomplished, and can be done simultaneously during the claims and objections period; and boom, the complexity is sorted.
So why do we have all this hullaballoo being pushed by the Chairman and his ‘clique of merry men’ that Guyana must have house-to-house registration immediately in this period of abnormality and uncertainty? Is this a ruse to cover up their grand scheme to delay and deny the people of Guyana free and fair elections, and elections free from fair?
Paraphrasing the national poet Martin Carter, “this is the dark time, my love”. As Mr. Carter said in that poem, “it is the season of oppression…….” Mr. Patterson and Mr. Trotman must understand that “time and history are not on their side”; so no matter what they do, Guyana will be free.