Objections to House-to-House Registration

Dear Editor,
The apparent unending cycle of judicial encounters, vehement dialogue among the masses concerning the No-Confidence Motion (NCM) and its consequences are having a new manifestation. Some have chosen to ignore the obvious and have mastered the art of sprouting alternative facts.
However, the truth will always win and the person of integrity will always stand out and be distinguished among pretenders.
So, we have had seven months and eleven days since the December 21 successful passage of the NCM. It has been 1 month and 14 days since the definitive ruling of the CCJ. Further, it has been 20 days since the consequential orders of the CCJ were given and the same old rhetoric of a desperate, undemocratic and insincere Government continues. This time, it is not “34 is the majority”, it is “House-to-House Registration”; a transparent ploy to buy themselves more time. The judicial system is being burdened because of the unwillingness of this Granger-led Administration to abide by the provisions of Articles 106 (6) and 106 (7) of the Constitution. Emphasis here, a caretaker Government must hold elections in three months. There is no evidence that suggests the President and his team will obey the Constitution, actions speak louder than words.
Now, let’s examine GECOM and its work programme towards elections. Documentation emanating from the Secretariat indicates that the pathway using Claims and Objections to get to a certified Official List of Electors (OLE) will take 119 days ie 29 days beyond the three-month timeframe as constitutionally mandated. We believe this can be shortened by way of using the list which validity expired on April 30, 2019, have a Claims and Objections exercise lasting no more than three to four weeks, nominations day is usually 32 days before election day. In good faith, this is the pathway for “sanitising and removal” promulgating the facilitation of timely credible elections, giving an opportunity for all eligible voters to be on the list.
The same document further outlines that House-to-House Registration requires 290 days to get to a National Register of Registrants database (NRRDB). After this, you still have to facilitate Claims and Objections, which as stated above requires 119 days to get to an Official List of Electors (OLE); a total of 409 days – almost a period of 14 months. This is totally unacceptable. We in the PPP/C believe this cry of “no House-to-House Registration, no elections” by the APNU/AFC Government and GECOM in the absence of a constitutionally appointed Chairperson commencing this ongoing House-to-House exercise is a recipe for delay, disaster and damage to our constitutional democracy.
Having spent 25 billion dollars and counting on a House-to-House exercise in 2008 followed by 11 cycles of Continuous Registration, the last being October 2018, GECOM’s current move to create a new database which will essentially serve as a de-registration exercise as against a registration exercise is toxic, senseless and pandering to political forces, this must be stopped.
The database that currently exists was used for the 4 recent elections – (i) 2011 where the APNU and AFC lost but garnered a one-seat majority in the National Assembly, (ii) 2015 General and Regional Elections where the APNU/AFC coalition came to Government with a one-seat majority, (iii) 2016 Local Government Elections and (iv) 2018 Local Government Elections where the PPP/C achieved more than 63 per cent of the popular vote.
At no time before the successful passage of the no-confidence vote did this Granger-led Administration or anyone have a problem with the credibility of the list or the database. Every cry should now be seen as crocodile tears, a farce, lacking in justification.
The courts and GECOM itself must assert its independence and reject the connivance and threats emanating from operatives within and closely connected to the Government. It is expected that the current House-to-House Registration should be stopped by the courts and GECOM itself.
To continue would mean, using GECOM’s timelines as previously outlined – elections would be held sometime in June 2020, giving this Government a full five-year term, totally ignoring the consequences of the successful passage of a no-confidence vote. The Caribbean Court of Justice clearly stated when it ruled on June 18, 2019, that the provisions of the Constitution contained in Articles 106 (6) and 106 (7) were immediately engaged.
As such, elections are due by September 18, 2019. A House-to-House Registration to get an OLE is unconstitutional, a delay tactic and meant to satisfy the narrow-minded political agenda of Granger and his Administration.
Justice and righteousness are required on this matter.

Yours sincerely,
Bishop Juan A Edghill