As far as the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) is concerned, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is ill-prepared for the holding of Local Government Elections on account of its failure to publicize a finalized Registers of Voters even with Nomination Day being twenty days away. GECOM has, however, refuted these claims outlining that they are completely false.
Executive member of APNU, Mervyn Williams, on Tuesday drew attention to his claim that in 2018, in preparation for Local Government Elections, the Official List of Electors, otherwise known as the Registers of Voters, was made available to the public 119 days before Nomination Day. Nomination Day for the March 13, 2023 elections has been set for December 12, 2022.
He contended that the Local Democratic Organs Act, Chapter 28:09 empowers the Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Nigel Dharamlall, to address questions in relation to the boundaries of local authority areas. However, Dharamlall has risen above this legislative authority to tamper with constituency boundaries, an action that falls within the remit of GECOM.
“The Minister’s authority is limited to identifying to the Guyana Elections Commission the number of seats required in a particular local authority area. It is the Guyana Elections Commission’s function thereafter to establish the requisite number of constituencies and to define them by way of boundaries,” Williams explained.
He further alleged that as a result of Dharamlall’s interference, GECOM was unable to prepare a list of voters outlining the various constituencies because the commission is unaware of what the boundaries are.
“There have been adjustments to constituencies in a number of local authority areas, and GECOM has not, as is required, been allowed to define the boundaries of those constituencies. If GECOM goes along with the existing demarcation of boundaries as outlined by the Minister, it means that the People’s Progressive Party will have the unfair advantage of knowing where those constituencies start and end long before any other contesting parties in the Local Government Elections,” he said.
Nevertheless, GECOM on Tuesday issued a press release arguing that the list is not overdue, as is being implied by persons who continue to protest its Kington, Georgetown office for a new voters’ list.
The commission indicated that it has posted a Revised List of Electors (RLE), in the public domain for scrutiny in compliance with the regulation, which mandated that this be done for the statutorily required twenty-one (21) days.
Further, the press statement revealed that GECOM’s Secretariat is currently implementing the tasks delineated sequentially in its Work Plan for the conduct of Local Government Elections and that November 26 is earmarked for the extraction of registers from the Revised List of Electors as stipulated in Chapter 28:03 of the Local Authorities Act.
The Registers will be opened for public scrutiny on December 1st, according to the press release.