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Citizens on Tuesday once again hit the streets in protest against the current Voters List and any future elections held with the list. The protest was held in front of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) on High Street, Georgetown. There was a police presence as members kept watchful eyes from a distance. Demonstrators were not interrupted from their activities.
Demonstrators continue to bemoan the fact GECOM has not moved to having a clean List, and took the opportunity to recall regional and international observer missions to Guyana for the March 2020 General and Regional Elections criticised the list and recommended its sanitisation of the list.
Chants included demands for a new list or no election and the removal of Justice Claudette Singh as Chair.
“Clean Voters List or No Election,” “Who Must Go? Claudette Must Go,” “We Want A Clean List”
Citizens want Justice Singh to go and GECOM to have a chair who is “more responsive to the time.”
Among citizens were Members of Parliament (MPs) of the A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC), including Sherrod Duncan, Christopher Jones and Vinceroy Jordan; and the Opposition Chief Scrutineer, Carol Joseph Smith.
According to Duncan “a dirty voters list cannot produce clean elections” Stating “the dutty list, this stinking, crossing list will not do” he made known “a dirty list cannot produce credible election.”
Jones accused Government-nominated commissioners on GECOM of fighting tooth and nail against a clean voters list, suggesting the “PPP would have already rigged the 2025 elections in their favour.”
Leader of the Opposition, Aubrey Norton, made an appearance. He said a clean voters list is important to a free and fair elections and part of a democratic process. Touching on biometrics he made known this is important especially in PPP strongholds where people were voting multiple times. In the last elections allegations were made of persons voting multiple times using different identification cards. Norton also zeroed in on the international observers addressing the importance of a clean voters list.
The Opposition has been demanding for a clean list along with improved biometrics even when they were in government. Civil society has also been making similar demands
In October 2015 the PPP called for a new voters list to be compiled on the basis of a fresh house to house enumeration and improved biometrics. In 2022 President Irfaan Ali said the List is not the problem. The claim by the President ignores registered complaints such as:
1) A recent International Republican Institute’s survey that found 81% of Guyanese feel electoral reforms are necessary;
2) The new Preliminary Voters List (PLE) has 684,354 names which represents over 91% of the total population of Guyana.
3) CARICOM in its Report said “As a minimum condition of electoral reform, the Team recommends the urgent need for the total re-registration of all voters in Guyana. It therefore behooves the Commission to create a new voter registry especially given the suspicion that the 2020 register was bloated, a suspicion which is not without merit.”
4) The Organisation of American States (OAS) called for the “undertaking a house-to-house registration exercise earliest.”