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Opposition GECOM Commissioner says names of some deceased persons will remain on voters list

Last Updated on Friday, 6 May 2022, 13:20 by Denis Chabrol

Vincent Alexander.

Opposition-nominated Guyana Elections Commissioner, Vincent Alexander on Friday said government’s plan to remove the names of deceased persons from the voters list is nothing new and still thousands of names of unregistered deaths and persons who died overseas would remain on the national register.

“That proposal is flawed. It is an attempt to retain the bloated list for the perpetration of illegal voting as occurred at the last elections,” he said in a letter to the media.

Mr. Alexander said plans announced by Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo about a week ago to amend the Representation of People Act to allow for the General Register’s Office to provide the names of deceased persons to the Chief Election Officer to date and annually is already an established function. Mr. Jagdeo had said the amendment to the law would also allow for that information to be shared with political parties and published in the newspapers.

The GRO`s office, on a monthly basis, already provides GECOM with the list of the persons whose deaths are registered. It should be noted that not all deaths are registered Therein lie the flaw and the sleight-of-hand of Jagdeo`s proposal. Nothing that he proposes addresses the fact that the GRO`s list does not include those whose deaths are not registered,” said Mr. Alexander, the longest serving Elections Commissioner.

He said the proposed methodology would not capture the thousands of names of Guyanese who were registered and died overseas are on the voters` list. “Jagdeo, the PPP, the Government and its agents resist and refuse to support any mechanism which would capture this subset of “ghosts”. There is therefore presently no mechanism for their removal. His proposal even waters down what is. It does not address the problem,” the Elections Commissioner said.

The Elections Commissioner claimed that there was “hard evidence” to show that votes were cast in the names of persons who are dead and/or were not present. That evidence languishes at GECOM, and in a Petition, which the PPP is fighting tooth and nail not to be pronounced on, in a judicial process,” he said.

He said GECOM`s refusal, to date, to review the conduct of the elections, including validating or invalidating information that statutory bodies brought to its attention about dead and substitute voters, raises serious questions about GECOM`s motive and integrity, in the conduct of its affairs. In this regard, the reference is to the Commission as distinct from its Secretariat.

Mr Alexander said any attempt to resolve a problem has to be based on the identification of the problem and the provision of solutions to eradicate the problem.