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Amended election laws should be used as “test run” in local government elections

Last Updated on Thursday, 3 February 2022, 21:44 by Writer

Government says it wants a number of Guyana’s election laws amended in time for the holding of already overdue local government elections.

“They will be crucial, we believe, for holding local government elections as a test run because many of the measures that we are putting in place in that Bill could then be implemented in the local government reform,” Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo said. Those amendments are expected to cover greater predictability surrounding the selection of persons, training, the publication of manuals, and counting and publication of results. The Representation of the People Act is expected to be amended to allow the Guyana Elections Commission (Gecom) to post authenticated results on its website.

He says the response to the proposed amendments to the Representation of the People Act has not been lukewarm. Demerara Waves Online News was informed that submissions have come from the non-governmental Article 13 and the Electoral Reform Group.

Already, People’s National Congress Reform Leader Aubrey Norton has insisted that Region Four will not be split up into four electoral districts in a revised Representation of the People Act. But Mr. Jagdeo maintains that Region Four will not be broken up into separate electoral districts, but will be managed separately by law. He explains that already the Region Four operatives of the Gecom had had separate tallies for East Coast Demerara, East Bank Demerara, South Georgetown and North Georgetown. “All we are saying is that instead of having one Returning Officer responsible for the whole region, given the large number of votes…put in separate individuals to run all of these places,” he said.

Days after the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections, the then Region Four Returning Officer had made two separate declarations. Then, the Chief Election Officer had removed over 100,000 votes from the count because he had deemed them not to have been credible.

Eventually, he had been ordered to declare the results using the data from the national vote recount.