…less than 4 months after $3B exercise
Over 6500 persons of the 16,863 ‘new’ registrants were not confirmed in the five-day field verification exercise conducted by the Guyana Elections Commission which concluded on Sunday.
The figures released to the media on Monday evening show that Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) has the highest number of unconfirmed persons – ie 3657. According to GECOM, there were 16,863 ‘new’ registrants but only 10,329 were confirmed. The figures show 6534 people were not confirmed.
Meanwhile, at a meeting on Monday, GECOM Commissioners discussed dates and timelines with respect to Nomination Day, approval of symbols and other matters pertaining to preparations for the upcoming General and Regional Elections which is slated for March 2, 2020.
Over the weekend, even before GECOM released the figures, chief scrutineer of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Zulficar Mustapha told this publication that not all of the persons listed as ‘new’ registrants were found during the verification.
The People’s Progressive Party has always contended that the House-to-House (H2H) exercise, which ran from July 20 to August 31 and cost $3 billion, was largely unsupervised and would produce flawed results. The party subsequently found that many of the persons listed as new registrants are either dead or were previously registered.
Some 370,000 registrations obtained during the scrapped H2H exercise were sent overseas to be cross-matched with the National Register of Registrants Database (NRRD) in order to filter out the duplicates.
However, it was recently reported that international digital security company, Gemalto, indicated that some 37,300 were new registrants who are eligible for voting, that is, they are above the age of 18. But an internal check conducted by GECOM showed that approximately 17,000 of those “new registrants” were already on the voters’ list and some even voted in the past.
The remaining 20,000 “new names” were up for further verification. Previously, it was reported that the Government-nominated Commissioners were pushing to have a sample survey done from a sample size of 10 per cent from the 20,000 to verify these new names before they go on the voters’ list – a process which the PPP Opposition had objected to.
That figure was further reduced to 16,863 names after multiple registrations were found.
At last Tuesday’s statutory meeting, there was a split vote on whether to proceed with a field verification exercise or not. GECOM Chair, retired Justice Claudette Singh then sided with the Opposition and used her casting vote to break the deadlock.