Finance Minister, Winston Jordan opted to remain mum on whether he would be prepared to consider additional funding to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to allow it to conduct house-to-house registration next year.
Jordan merely reiterated that if the fiscal outlook improves next year =, he would be willing to consider additional requests by the constitutional bodies.
That was after the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) noted during consideration of estimates for the 17 Constitutional agencies that there has been a 38 percent cut in GECOM’s 2017 budget from GYD$5.8 billion to GYD$2 billion.
House Speaker, Dr. Barton Scotland was busy blocking questions by PPPC parliamentarians about whether the GYD$2,029,932 allocation had taken into consideration a decision by GECOM to hold the house-to-house registration next year. Scotland said the rules prohibited parliamentarians from scrutinizing the operational aspects and line-items of the constitutional bodies.
The Finance Minister did not answer Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira’s question about whether he was aware that the Commission had decided to hold house to house registration.
After PPPC parliamentarian Ganga Persaud queried whether the Finance Minister had considered the possibility of by-elections for a number of local authority areas, he (the minister) conceded that he did not exclude those in stating that the budget was slashed because there would be no local or national elections next year.
The House Speaker also prevented PPPC MP, Zulfikar Mustapha from asking whether the Finance Minister was aware that GECOM was considering electronic registration, electronic voting, electronic identification and electronic tabulation.