Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Opposition support leads to re-opening of 'Claims and Objections'

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) met in a special session yesterday to consider re-opening the Claims and Objections period to get more persons to register and came out with a 3-2 majority vote.
This now opens the way for unregistered persons to get themselves on the National Register of Registrants which will form the Final Voters’ List. They will have 10 days, starting July 25, to do so.
Of the six Commissioners, five were present. The Commissioners who voted in favour of the decision were Mahmood Shaw, Keshav Mangal – who were nominated by the incumbent PPP – and Robert Williams, who was nominated by the smaller political parties. Vincent Alexander and Charles Corbin, who sit on the Commission based on nomination by the main opposition People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), voted against. The other commissioner, Moen McDoom, was absent.
Dr Steve Surujbally vociferously sought to assure that the Commission was not divided and that the re-opening of the Claims and Objections period would not affect the holding of elections by the December 28 constitutional date.
Keshav Mangal, who has been a Commissioner for the past 20 years, said his main concern is that all eligible Guyanese are given their constitutional right to vote.
Article 42 of the Guyana Constitution provides the conditions under which persons are entitled to be registered as citizens.
Dr Surujbally pointed to the constitution which says that citizens 18 years or older are eligible to vote, but only if there are registered.
He said the National Registration Act, Chapter 19:08 and the Representation of the People Act, chapter 1:03 provide the methodologies for the conduct of registration and elections respectively.
Dr Surujbally said that “GECOM has never departed from these legal provisions in carrying out its mandate.
He said that GECOM had met with senior representatives of the Justice For All Party (JFAP), the Guyana People’s Partnership (GPP), the PNCR, the Alliance For Change (AFC), the PPP, and the Private Sector Commission (PSC).
He said all of these entities had one common concern, that is, there were many persons who previously could not apply for registration because they were not in possession of their source documents, but who now have those source documents.
“All of these Organisations demanded of GECOM that it try to formulate options which would result in the persons concerned becoming enabled to apply for registration,” Dr Surujbally stated.
As a result, he said yesterday’s decision has taken into account the political parties’ original requests, the fact that there are “no constraints associated with timelines or the law, and with the availability of finances.”
“Also, it must always be kept in our collective cognizance that a complete and credible Voters’ List, one that does not engender protests and accusations of disenfranchisement, is a fundamental requirement for the conduct of elections that would be commonly accepted as free, fair and transparent in accordance with international best practice,” Surujbally declared.

1 comment:

  1. It's good to see that they have agreed to re open this process to give guyanese the right to vote.