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GECOM votes in favour of house-to-house registration

Governing coalition-backed elections commissioners Vincent Alexander, Desmond Trotman and Charles Corbin speaking with the media outside GECOM’s headquarters after a statutory meeting.

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) on Tuesday voted by majority to go ahead with house-to-house registration and to ask government for more monies to fund general elections afterwards, elections commissioners said.

Breaking the 3-3 tie on house-to-house registration was GECOM  Chairman Retired Justice James Patterson who voted for a fresh voters’ list in order to remove the names of deceased and migrants.

House-to-house registration can take up to nine months.

Governing coalition elections commissioner, Vincent Alexander said the President would also be informed that GECOM needs the National Assembly to approve additional funds to hold general elections and “GECOM would continue its routine plan for 2019.”

“[In] 2019 GECOM had budgeted for house-to-house registration and, therefore, what they will do essentially is to start the work that is required for house-to-house registration… They have instructions to start immediately,” Alexander said.

Parliament approved GYD$3 billion for the conduct of house-to-house registration in 2019. GECOM spokeswoman, Yolanda Warde said the commission would revert to its 2019 work-plan and meet operationally on Wednesday to decide how to move ahead with the registration process. She said a cycle of continuous registration, including claims and objections, would be held after the existing list expires on April 30, 2019 while preparations continue for the house-to-house process.

The electoral body is now expected to inform President David Granger that general elections could not be held latest by March 20, 2019 – that is within 90 days of the National Assembly’s approval of the no-confidence motion last December.

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

Alexander confirmed that the seven-member elections commission voted 3-2 that elections could not be held by March as a result of one of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) commissioners abstaining, while Elections Commission Chairman Patterson broke the 3-3 tie by voting in favour of house-to-house registration and the need for a separate allocation of monies to finance the holding of general elections.

“There is movement insofar as we are no longer waiting on us. They [the PPP] know where we stand and it is for them at the level at which they operate now to take things forward,” he said.

Alexander said GECOM has to factually advise on its state of readiness and based on the Ministry of Finance’s advice, GECOM could not use the monies allocated for national registration to fund general elections.

The PPP has long maintained that elections could have been held in 90 days had GECOM begun preparations immediately after the no-confidence motion was passed.