Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
Member of Parliament (MP) and Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan, said an additional 14 days Claims and Objections period by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to fix the Register of VoterS (RoV) List will make no difference.
Two saturdays ago, December 3, Chief Elections Officer and Commissioner of Registration, Mr. Vishnu Bisram, wrote GECOM Chair Justice Claudette Singh with the proposal, in apparent response to legal action filed by the Opposition, asking the court to to rule the RoV List “null, voice and of no legal effect” if GECOM fails to fully comply with the Local Authorities Act, Cap 28:03.
Speaking at the party’s press conference last Friday, Ramjattan made known even with the extension “GECOM will still be perpetuating a number of illegalities if it seeks a rectification of this debacle.”
He advised GECOM’s attempt at corrective action by adhering only to Section 24 (Claims and Objections) and ignoring Sections 8 to 23 still constitutes violation of the Act. These are the issues the AFC said that has caused the party to boycott Local Government Elections (LGE), scheduled for March 13, 2023.
With Nomination Day, which was scheduled for Monday 12, postponed, the likelihood of LGE being held on March 13 appears remote.
Touching on “the arrogant and ill-advised Minister Nigel Dharamlall,” Ramjattan said he has no power to demarcate boundaries.
Last month Dharamlall said the Government has taken a decision to change boundaries and revert to those used in the 2016 LGE.
Justice Singh, in a statement issued by GECOM last Friday said “if the Minister sought to form or change the configuration of constituencies within those areas, he would have usurped the power granted to the Commission to combine and sub-divide electoral divisions to form constituencies. If such were the case, the Minister would have acted outside of his legal remit.”
Zeroing on the amendment to the Representation of the People Act (ROPA) where residency requirement was removed, the MP said “the residency requirement is deliberately and mischievously being misconstrued and misapplied by the [People’s Progressive Party] PPP government this time.”
The PPP, he said, is unlawfully and immorally doing a complete volte face on the qualifications to be registered as a voter, plus the party wants the volunteerism of the voter to enlist when this is GECOM’s duty.
Recapping history, Ramjattan reminded it was the “PPP in 1990 that demanded a brand new voters list by scrupulous house-to-house registration to replace the existing one which was even bloated by less than the existing one.”
The PPP’s argument back then to have residency requirement was that voter impersonation will be made negligible by a list made up of people, who on the qualifying date, are here in Guyana, he advised.
Chiding the PPP for its about face, Ramjattan pointed out the 2020 Recount exercise provided sufficient evidence of voter impersonation yet “today the Jagdeo-ite PPP wants a voters list which will comprise of approximately 200,000 non-residents” and is shying away from biometrics that can reduce/eliminate voter impersonation.
According to him, there is only one deduction that can be made from the PPP ‘s about face:- “It is nothing but to commit fraud at every future elections, local or national.” This, he said, has to be halted!