PNC will support decision to scrap H2H Registration – Vice Chair Norton

The People’s National Congress Reform, which holds the larger fraction of the coalition Government, has indicated that it is willing to scrap its call for House-to-House Registration if the newly appointed Chairperson, retired Justice Claudette Singh, decides that it cannot go forward.
This was revealed by the party’s Vice Chairman, Dr George Norton, who at a press conference on Friday said that the coalition Government will “certainly take into consideration, decisions that is made by the Commission [and] Chairman of the Commission that we support”.
GECOM commenced House-to-House registration in July despite concerns from civil society, the Private Sector and parliamentary Opposition that it would delay the constitutionally mandated elections due in September.
The exercise was also rejected on the grounds that it violates the Constitution and the ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). In a move to prevent the violation of Guyana’s Constitution, attorney-at-law and anti-corruption activist, Christopher Ram had filed a case before the High Court in which he sought an injunction against the exercise. That challenge is still engaging the High Court.
While Government has supported this process to produce what it described as a “clean” list, a large number of persons have boycotted the process. Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has said that the current H2H is “illegal” and asserted that a clean list of electors cannot be produced if thousands refuse to register.
“The PPP made a decision not to participate, not to be complicit in an illegality. It is illegal, for the way it is being conducted. Any list created on the basis of this House-to-House would have no credibility. Because people are refusing to be registered. The registration of people is being done in a manner not scrutinised,” Jagdeo was quoted as saying.
The decision to proceed with H2H Registration was made by Retired Justice James Patterson, who has since been declared by the CCJ as unconstitutionally appointed and thus had to step down from the position.
Given the appointment of the new GECOM Chairperson earlier this week, it is expected that a decision will soon be made regarding the continuance of the registration exercise.
Justice Singh, who finds favour with both President David Granger and the Opposition Leader, had maintained that all her decisions will be in accordance with the law and the Constitution.
In an interview following her swearing-in last Monday, Singh stated, “My priorities are endeavouring to have free, fair and transparent elections. I am also looking forward to having meetings with each set of Commissioners. And I will have them separately. The meeting with Government and Opposition Commissioners. Then I will bring all of them together…I believe in inclusivity and I will speak with everybody. And I don’t believe in people walking out when there is a disagreement. I believe in sitting down and resolving whatever the problem is.”
Meanwhile, Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield had revealed recently that enumerators have been met by non-cooperation from some citizens.