APNU claims late sister of Local Government Minister and more than two hundred non-residents of a Region five local authority area are still on List of Electors for Local Government Elections

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Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Nigel Dharamlall

The APNU+AFC coalition says it has tangible evidence that suggests that the List of Electors prepared by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) for the March 13, 2023 Local Government Elections comprises in excess of 200 persons who are either dead or not ordinarily residents of the constituencies they registered in.

At least one person included in the List of Electors expected to be used at next year’s Local Government Elections is confirmed to be dead. According to the APNU+AFC opposition, that person was the sister of Nigel Dharamlall, Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, who died ten years ago.

Opposition Member of Parliament and Shadow Minister of Legal Affairs, Roysdale Forde, said APNU extracted a list of more than 200 persons that are not residents of constituency three of the Region five union local authority area (Onverwagt- Golden Grove), but as a consequence of still being on the List of Electors, they are enabled to vote in the constituency.

Member of Parliament, Ganesh Mahipaul, in response to a question on why his party’s list of non-residents and a deceased person was not presented to GECOM during the claims and objections period for possible reassignments and removal, reiterated that APNU+AFC does not believe that the claims and objections process can accurately cleanse the List of Electors.

He explained that in the case of Dharamlall’s sister, an objection to her name would require the opposition to present proof of her death certificate, which the Minister might be reluctant to provide.

“The same way we know that the Mr. Dharamlall’s sister is no longer with us, we know that there are many others who have passed, and we may not have the original documentation to substantiate the claim to GECOM to act… The claims and objections period does not give us the clear need to ensure that there is a clean voters’ list for credible elections,” Mahipaul divulged.

APNU’s revelations come in the face of its Chief Scrutineer, Carol Smith- Joseph filing an application to the high court against the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), the Chief Election Officer, and the Attorney General, seeking 14 declarations and four orders intended to nullify the preliminary List, paving the way for a new register of voters.

Smith-Joseph, through her attorney, Senior Counsel, Roysdale Forde, has asked the court to declare that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) acted unlawfully when it opted not to compile the Preliminary List of Voters for the Local Elections in accordance with the Local Authorities (Elections) Act as amended by Act No. 15 of 2015. 

In addition, she has sought a ruling from the High Court that GECOM is required to act in accordance with Section 11 of the Local Authorities (Election) Act in compiling the Preliminary List of Voters, and further that it is legally required to prepare a Register of Voters for use at elections for local authority areas in accordance with Sections 12, 13, 14, 20, 22 and 23.

When contacted, Dharamlall told They Break News that, “Removing dead peoples’ names is not within the remit of the minister of local government and regional government. The removal of names is pursued through an established process between the Guyana Register Office (GRO) and GECOM.”

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