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|The Opposition, A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) has accused the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) of being the only group against the creation of a clean Voters List. President Irfaan Ali, in a recent statement said, “The list is not the problem.”
The Opposition, at its weekly press conference on Tuesday, drew attention to the fact the Official List of Electors (OLE) for the 2020 General and Regional Elections contained 660,998 names, which represented approximately 85 per cent of the entire population of Guyana.
Pointing out the absurdity of the number, the Opposition said “no other country in the world has a voters list that is more than 80% of the population. This is an absolute abomination!”
Both major political forces (APNU+AFC and PPP/C) went into the election aware the List was bloated.
On August 14, 2019, acting Chief Justice (CJ) Roxane George-Wiltshire SC ruled the then ongoing House to House registration exercise by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) cannot be used to remove persons’ names from the National Register of Registrants outside of compliance with Article 159 of the Constitution of Guyana.
Attorneys-at-law Anil Nandlall, Ralph Ramkarran SC, et al representing Mr. Christopher Ram who brought the case against GECOM commended the ruling. Ramkarran said, “we won a very important aspect of the case and that is…names cannot be taken off the register merely because they’re not at the address that they’re supposed to be.”
Efforts to create a clean voters list cannot ignore constitutional provision and the court’s ruling on August 14, 2019.
“Exposing the PPP’s hypocrisy,” the Opposition called attention to the party’s “loud demands in October 2015 – five months after its defeat at the 2015 elections – for “a new Voters List to be compiled on the basis of a fresh house to house enumeration.” In pursuit of achieving a new List the PPP/C “called for the removal of the GECOM Chairman, Dr. Steve Surujbally.”
In 2022, Mr. Aubrey Norton, Leader of the Opposition, is calling for the removal of GECOM Chair, Justice Claudette Singh. Norton said GECOM has lost its independence under Justice Singh and cited her voting every time with the Government-nominated commissioners as evidence. In this regard, Justice Singh has distinguished herself from her predecessors who presided over a commission that made decisions primarily by consensus.
Every major observer mission, local and international, in the 2020 Elections has ridiculed the size of the Voters List vis-à-vis the population and urged Guyana (GECOM) to sanitise the list.