The position of the Electoral Reform Group (ERG) in regard to the proposed amendment of ROPA is not just ridiculous, but is ludicrous. It is contending that “…the proposal to divide Region Four, Guyana’s largest electoral district, into sub-districts is provocative and unjustified.”
I am amused by such a pronouncement. The claim is that “Singling out Region 4 for special treatment is unjustified and provocative, (since) It is an affront not to GECOM officials, but to the residents of Region 4.” This is like an OMG.
The ERG must be at least “true to facts” if it wants any kind of space in this debate. Region Four created problems all because there was a concerted effort by the then ruling regime (APNU/AFC Coalition) to rig the elections. One glaring crime was that of not sticking to the Statements of Poll (SoPs) as perpetrated by the Coalition. That was the crux of the issue, and that needs addressing, and the best way to ‘fix’ this is by demarcating the Region, the largest by far, into sub-divisions, so that an entire country would not have to be held to ransom by any conniving group.
Also, it makes the most logistical sense in terms of ballot counting, and ‘number of votes’ per party will not be affected, but only the easier facilitation of the counting and tabulating.
Look how more manageable it would be if all goes according to plan. It means that Region Four will be sub-divided administratively into four clusters, namely East Bank, South Georgetown, North Georgetown and East Coast. This decentralisation will eliminate the possibility of another Clairmont Mingo, as each cluster will be managed by a Supernumerary Returning Officer (SRO), who will report to the substantive Returning Officer (RO).
What will then ensue is that there will be a great reduction of the time frame for the announcement of Preliminary Declaration of Results, as the four-part division would mean four sets of simultaneous counting.
Other great spinoffs include “Allowing for administrative support before, on, and after “E” Day to the RO”; “Facilitating submission of requests for recounts (if necessary)”; and “Removing bottlenecks in the appointment and replacement of agents.”
The thrust of an election is that ‘every vote be counted’, and all that the Government is pushing for is that this be done easier and faster. I ask the ERG what can be so wrong about this?