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Jagdeo`s latest Press engagement, a la another of his attempts to lecture the media operatives, and to influence public opinion, adds up to: the more things change, the more they remain the same.
In that engagement, he contended that he, his party and Government are proposing a methodology for the removal of the names of dead persons from the Registerof Registrants and ultimately from the Voters` List. The proposed methodology is to have GECOM`s CEO “secure a list of all of the dead people, to date, from the General Registrar Office (GRO) and compare it to the list of registrants. Additionally, the CEO would be required to do so annually”. He further proposes that the list should be shared with all political parties and publicized in the newspapers. He concludes that in doing so, the process would be transparent, and the list sanitized.
That proposal is flawed. It is an attempt to retain the bloated list for the perpetration of illegal voting as occurred at the last elections.
The GRO`s office, on a monthly basis, already provides GECOM with the list of the persons whose deaths are registered. It should be noted that not all deaths are registered. Therein lies the flaw and the slight-of-hand of Jagdeo`s proposal. Nothing that he proposes addresses the fact that the GRO`s list does not include those whose deaths are not registered. And further, what he proposes is less than that which is currently being done. Thousands of names of Guyanese who were registered and died overseas are on the voters` list. Jagdeo, the PPP, the Government and its agents resist and refuse to support any mechanism which would capture this subset of “ghosts”. There is therefore presently no mechanism for their removal. His proposal even waters down what is. It does not address the problem.
The fact is that hard evidence was presented to show that votes were cast in the names of persons who are dead and/or were not present. That evidence languishes at GECOM, and in a Petition, which the PPP is fighting tooth and nail not to be pronounced on, in a judicial process. That the PPP, as a political contestant, is doing that is quite understandable. However, GECOM`s refusal, to date, to review the conduct of the elections, including validating or invalidating information that statutory bodies brought to its attention about dead and substitute voters, raises serious questions about GECOM`s motive and integrity, in the conduct of its affairs. In this regard, the reference is to the Commission as distinct from its Secretariat.
Any attempt to resolve a problem has to be based on the identification of the problem and the provision of solutions to eradicate the problem. Jagdeo`s proposal does neither of the two, and GECOM totally refuses to determine if there is such problem, although all of the stakeholders up to budget 2019 gave their support to a process that recognized, and could have resolved the problem. The claim that there are procedures to prevent impersonation and ghost voting is comfort for the fools, since the evidence shows that there was impersonation and ghost voting.
In his interaction with the media, Jagdeo also ventured outside of his realm, on the reform of the Representation of the People`s Act, to report that the Government had received “the most ‘substantive’ number of comments from GECOM and a civil society body”. This is gross misinformation. First, GECOM received the circular, about the reform, long after it had been made public and reported on, in the Press. GECOM has had no discussion on the substance of any reform and therefore it cannot be claimed that any submission is a product of the Commission. One commissioner has indicated that she made her personal submission to the Government and sees no need to be party to any such discussion, in GECOM. Some other commissioners have ventured no comment, in GECOM, on the substance of therefrom. Other Commissioners have made preliminary submissions in anticipation of, and to facilitate the start of an internal discussion. In GECOM`s most recent meeting the Chair did proffer that she had made a submission on behalf of GECOM, but was confronted with the facts presented above and retorted that GECOM can still have an internal discussion. Is it coincidental that her inaccurate representation of the facts, on this matter, are approximate to Jagdeo`s misrepresentation, on the said matter?