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The A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) said they met with the Guyana Election Commission (GECOM) on Tuesday at their request.
The main agenda item involved the publication of the Preliminary Voters by GECOM without information for electors to determine their local government areas and constituencies, and for contesting parties to likewise determine nominees and candidates, said the coalition.
The APNU+AFC said their call for a clean voter’s list and voting-day biometrics has prompted a long and vigorous public debate not without misunderstanding on the public’s part.
Consequently, the press conference on Wednesday sought to correct the several errors and misconceptions:
The corrections are outlined hereunder: –
FIRST: The use of biometrics at the place of poll is not financially, technologically, nor administratively prohibitive—unlike the claim made by Mr. Ralph Ramkarran in his latest article. Several countries with larger voting populations and geographic areas than Guyana use the technology. Peru, for example, is six (6) times larger than Guyana, with a list of electors of about 20M. Yet it uses fingerprint biometrics for voting.
Several African countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, are also moving in that direction.
Fingerprint biometric voting kits are highly portable and are designed to work for hours with battery power. Polling stations with no electricity or blackouts would not therefore pose a problem.
SECOND: The call for the Opposition to provide evidence of fraud misses a major matter—that is that democracy is always a work in progress. We in Guyana must continuously strive to ensure our elections are increasingly accurate, efficient, and trustworthy.
The few improvements made by GECOM over the last two decades (such as counting at the place of poll, and the use of fingerprint biometrics for registration) must not be sporadic efforts. Instead, they must reflect an organizational culture that embraces continuous improvement.
Guyana must always seek to make improvements from election to election, more so when credible claims of election flaws and fraud are made. But improvements must also be made irrespective of such claims.
We must not ignore the fact that our elections are still marred by registration of ineligibles, voter impersonation, and multiple voting. The Recount revealed many illegalities. As a nation, we have done nothing since the last election to improve the standards and credibility of our elections. In fact, we have made matters worse by, among other things, refusing to re-activate the residency requirement.