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Printing of national ID cards can take at least three months – PPP elections commissioner

GECOM Chairman Claudette Singh flanked by (left to right) PPP-aligned election commissioners Robeson Benn, Bibi Shadick, and Sase Gunraj as wells as pro-coalition commissioners Charles Corbin, Vincent Alexander and Desmond Trotman.

Opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP) elections commissioner, Sase Gunraj says the printing of national identification cards can take more than three months.

“We are hearing about the production of ID cards now. The smallest timeframe provided by the Secretariat is 92 days and it goes all the way to 140 days. While those are overlapping events, the issue that is coming out is that those are things that will take a long, long time,” he said.

High-level Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) sources have said the Electoral Office of Jamaica is prepared to print Guyana’s national identification cards.

Gunraj said proposals to deal with the merging of data from the July to August, 2019 house-to-house registration exercise with the existing National Register of Registrants, the verification exercise and printing of national identification cards were all combining to stretch the timeframe within which general elections could be held. “The proposals that are coming are all very, very lengthy processes and, as I have said before, the data from house-to-house is unverified data and we have to be very careful how we treat that data”.

Election Commissioners from government and opposition say their meeting on Tuesday ended with no decisions.

They are to meet again on Friday to discuss verification, merging and production of national identification cards.

Pro-coalition elections commissioner, Vincent Alexander was cautiously optimistic that the seven-member commission would arrive at decisions very soon. He said timelines would be defined based on information from GECOM’s technical staff. “There seems to be light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

Elections are expected to be held in the coming months, possibly before year-end, as a result of a no-confidence motion that was passed 33-32 by Guyana’s National Assembly last December and upheld by the Caribbean Court of Justice months later.

President David Granger has publicly acknowledged that he is now in charge of a caretaker administration in which no new capital projects or major agreements can be signed. Finance Minister Winston Jordan says the 2019 National Budget expires on December 31. If elections are not held before year-end, he has said government would only be able to spend one-twelfth of this year’s budget on recurrent expenditures and roll-over capital projects.