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GECOM Secretariat to advise Commission on general elections timeline

Government-backed GECOM Commisisoners Vincent Alexander and Desmond Trotman.

The seven-member Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) on Tuesday unanimously agreed that the administration would provide clear timeframes on the earliest and latest general and regional elections could be held, a decision the commissioners said marked some progress in resolving a one-week long stalemate.

Opposition-nominated People’s Progressive Party (PPP) elections commissioner, Bibi Shadick said, after minutes of several meetings were considered, they decided that the GECOM Secretariat would prepare work-plans “giving timelines for the different options that were presented by the Chief Elections Officer” for elections to be held with or without house-to-house registration, a claims and objections period or using the current voters list which expires on April 30, 2019.

The GECOM administration is expected to present a report to the Commission by next Tuesday.

“The Secretariat will provide those to the Operations sub-committee members who will meet urgently,” Shadick told reporters. That sub-committee is being co-chaired by PPP elections commissioner Sase Gunraj and governing coalition commissioner Charles Corbin.

PPP-nominated election commissioners Sase Gunraj, Bibi Shadick and Robeson Benn.

Although Shadick believed that the process appeared to be dragging out deliberately so that elections could not be held by March 19, 2019 when the 90-day deadline expires following the House’s approval of the no-confidence motion in December 21, 2018, she acknowledged that progress was made at Tuesday’s meeting. “There is a kind of a progress but we need to see what the alternatives are to be presented to the Operations sub-committee and the results of those,” she said.

Governing coalition-associated elections commissioner, Vincent Alexander said the Operations sub-committee would examine the options including a “compact proposal for house-to-house [registration] as part of the package”.

Alexander also acknowledged that there was progress but the stalemate over when polls could be held was still lingering. “We have created a framework to discuss how we get past the stalemate but we haven’t yet gotten past the stalemate,” he said.

Depending on the outcome of next Tuesday’s deliberations, GECOM would advise on the various dates.

Up to last week, the President and Opposition Leader’s emissaries did not get a definitive date from GECOM on when general elections could be held.