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PPP denies politicking on voters list

The Preliminary Voters List

People’s Progressive Party (PPP) General Secretary, Clement Rohee on Monday insisted that the names of dead persons should not be on the voters list but shied away from saying whether he was satisfied with safeguards to ensure that persons do not vote in the names of deceased.

The verification process at each polling station includes the collective verification of name and photograph of each person who goes to vote by GECOM officials and party polling agents. They use a folio that contains the names, pictures and national identification numbers of voters. In cases where, it is suspected or known that a person would have voted before, his or her index fingers are placed under ultraviolet light to find traces of indelible link that are cannot be seen with the naked eye.

Against the background of concerns that the names of thousands of dead persons were still on the voters list and could be used to rig elections, Rohee said the PPP had a right to question everything when he was asked if he was satisfied with existing safeguards that prevent voting in the names of deceased. He rejected claims that he was trying to score political points by criticizing the process.

“Politicking? This is serious business my friend. This is abiut being elected or not being elected to government and we have to start now,” he said.

He said the GRO would only send information to GECOM based on its records after relatives would have registered deaths. “If you don’t do that, how can GRO send any information to GECOM so I am not apportioning blame or taking away blame from anybody,” he said.

The PPP acknowledged that there was no easy fix to the names of dead persons being on the voters list, saying that it was up to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to amend the law.

Rohee said little could be done currently to remove the names of deceased persons if their deaths were not registered at the General Registrar’s Office (GRO). “The only thing that legally could be done is for the law to be changed and that’s it,” he said.

While party scrutineers might be told by residents in a community that someone would have died and many persons would have openly expressed grief, Rohee said such objections would have to be supported by a death certificate.

The opposition coalition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) have not expressed any grave concern about the voters list.

Early elections are expected due to the AFC-sponsored no-confidence motion that could see the President and Cabinet resigning and paving the way for general and regional elections in 90 days. However, the Guyanese leader has the option of naming elections day before the motion is debated and passed when the House ends its parliamentary recess on October 10.