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Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Mr. Nigel Dharamlall, last October announced Local Government Elections (LGE) will be held March 13, 2023. The announcement would have been informed on the advice Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Mr. Vishnu Persaud, would have given the commissioners of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) of the agency’s readiness for the polls.
However, based on the requirement of residency status in a geographic area to vote and being a candidate to contest, among other stipulations in the Local Authorities Act, somebody dropped the ball between the CEO and commissioners. The Opposition-nominated commissioners have expressed concern about GECOM’s readiness to conduct LGE with the glaring deficiencies.
Exhibit used in the GECOM/Smith Joseph’s case
The electoral system governing list preparation, candidacy and eligibility to participate in LGE is different from the General and Regional Elections.
The A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), separately and collectively, highlighted these problems.
Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan, Leader of the AFC, recently warned “If we go into the election with that [voters] list, we are going to have other problems. Under the Local Government Elections (LGE) regime, in relation to election, you can’t take an Official List of Electors (OLE) from the General and Regional Elections and use it, because the entire regime is governed by another act; the Local Government Act, which speaks about how the list is arrived at for the Local Government Authorities, Neighbourhood Democratic Councils and Municipalities which is not being done, and we feel it is illegal and will not facilitate a fraud.”
Some of the exhibits (seen here) are used by Opposition Chief Scrutineer, Ms. Carol Smith Joseph in the court challenge. Smith Joseph, who is being represented by attorney-at-law, Mr. Roysdale Forde, SC, on Friday filed a Fixed Date Application in the High Court against GECOM challenging the preparation and extraction of the List of Electors for the LGE