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…over lack of stated approval from gov’t, parliament
By Svetlana Marshall
A high-level meeting with the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), intended to discuss Electoral Reform in Guyana, was aborted on Tuesday following objections from the three opposition-nominated commissioners.
With the full backing of the U.S Department of State, the IRI is executing an 18-month project to strengthen the capacity of GECOM and the Attorney General’s Chambers. The project is centered on electoral reform in accordance with regional and international standards.
In an interview with reporters, moments after the abrupt end of the meeting, Commissioner Vincent Alexander explained that the opposition-appointed commissioners, himself included, expressed the need for the Government to formally inform the Commission on the project.
“The opposition-appointed commissioners raised the question about IRI being engaged in such an exercise without the Government advising GECOM that this was what was happening or without the Parliament…having advised that it has given the go ahead for such a project by IRI,” Alexander explained.
He said given the concerns expressed by the opposition-nominated commissioners, the meeting came to a premature end to allow for the Government and the National Assembly to communicate to GECOM their position on the project. Notably, he said there needs to be consultation among the major political parties on the project. However, should there be gridlock, Alexander opined that the matter should be sent to the Constitutional Reform Committee (CRC), ultimately the National Assembly for its consent.
He said should the Government signal its approval, the opposition-nominated commissioners would reforms that result in a new National Register of Registrant (NRR). “Our first and major concern is the dealing with the Register of Registrants. We are in a conundrum because of the legal ruling of the Court and the legislature has to find some mechanism that would allow GECOM…to create a new a new Register of Registrant, periodically. That’s our major concern. ” Alexander told reporters.
Further, he submitted that Guyana should not have to endure another round of National Recount as it did in 2020. “Probably we need to enshrine into our arrangement the role of the commissioners in terms of them being in receipt of SOPs and for the Commission to have the final determination on declaration of the result…” he posited.
It is unclear when another meeting will be set between the IRI and GECOM