House-to-house registration was never voted on – PPP Commissioner maintains

first_imgDespite the announcement being peddled that house-to-house registration could begin soon as a result of a recent vote taken to have the work of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) returned to normalcy, People’s Progressive Party (PPP)-appointed Commissioner Bibi Shadick has denied this claim.PPP-nominated GECOM Commissioner Bibi ShadickShadick told Guyana Times on Wednesday that there was an attempt by Government-nominated Commissioner Charles Corbin to have the Commission vote that the GECOM Secretariat go back to its normal work.“I made sure that I said I don’t understand why the Secretariat stopped doing its normal work and I don’t know why there was a motion that needs to tell them to do their work because that’s what they are being paid for,” Shadick explained. While there were surrounding arguments, she noted that there was never a vote taken on the Secretariat going back to its normal work.“There was never that vote. There were two; one to inform the President (David Granger) that GECOM could not hold elections within the 90-day period beginning December 21, 2018; and the second is that the Commission inform the President that in order to make any preparation for election, GECOM would need money,” she vigorously maintained.According to Shadick, those two votes were passed with the help of the Chairman, retired Justice James Patterson who sided with the Government Commissioners. But to reinforce her point, the Opposition Commissioner said house-to-house registration was never discussed.GECOM’s Public Relations Officer Yolanda WardShadick, an attorney by profession, said her argument two weeks ago had to do with why GECOM was not presenting a timeline as was usually done prior to a claims and objections period, in order to refresh the list after April 30. She noted that after that date, there will be no valid list.“So, as we sit here, GECOM has no plans to refresh the list for May 1. While GECOM’s 2019 work plan to which the budget was applied, says if you’re to have house-to-house registration in 2019 which I’m saying yes but again that cannot be done after elections,” she added.To validate her arguments, Shadick went on to say that while a motion requesting monies for an election was voted on and passed, GECOM cannot embark on a house-to-house registration now. It has to train staff, which according to the CEO will take more than three months.In addition to that, GECOM will also have to acquire equipment which is part of the $3.36 billion requested appropriation that will help to cater for digital registration. “So there is so much that needs to be done and the plan was never to start house-to-house now, the plan was to start until June,” Shadick stated, explaining that the push for such is impossible at this time.She told Guyana Times, “Our team is not objecting to house-to-house registration. We are objecting to a house-to-house registration before an election which is constitutionally due. As we sit here today an election is constitutionally due before March 20. We have no other date that we are responsible for and extending that date too is not within the remit of GECOM.”On the other hand, Public Relations Officer of GECOM, Yolanda Ward told this publication that three motions were passed when the Commission met on Tuesday. One of those motions say GECOM should revert to its original work plan for 2019 pending the outcome of the others.“As you know, prior to December 21, our work plan says we will have registration and house-to-house. If the vote is that we revert to our 2019 work plan, house-to-house was part of that work plan,” Ward explained, which she said takes effect following the approval of the other two.GECOM had given July as a timeline for the hosting of elections, but at the same time, it stated that the present voters’ list would expire on April 30.Although the Opposition has been calling for elections within the constitutional time frame, the Government claimed that it was up to GECOM’s readiness to host same.Since the passage of the no-confidence resolution, GECOM has been dragging its feet with respect to elections preparation. It has also been calling for house-to-house registration which could take months. However, it is President David Granger who has to dissolve Parliament and set a date for elections. (Samuel Sukhnandan)last_img read more


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