PPP says GECOM rejects request for extension of continuous registration
The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) through a majority vote rejected a proposal to have an extension to the continuous registration exercise which lasted for approximately six weeks, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has claimed.
This means that persons who missed the opportunity to get registered will not be able to vote at the upcoming local government elections – a development which bothers the PPP.
A statement from the Party explained that it wrote Chief Elections Officer of the Elections Commission, Keith Lowenfield, requesting an extension of the exercise which began two weeks later than it was slated to commence.
“The PPP firmly believes that the request for an extension was crucial and reasonable given that a number of eligible registrants were unable to engage in the process due to insufficient time.
“The disadvantage resulting from the shortened period was further compounded by an inadequate and ineffective public relations support mechanism,” the PPP stated.
The Party was hoping that a request for an extension would have been welcomed by all Commissioners including Chairman Justice James Patterson, given that the exercise kick-started later than planned.
However, during GECOM’s last meeting, Justice Patterson used his casting vote to shut down the proposal, PPP stated.
“Given the importance of this process, especially in the context of openness and to prevent disenfranchisement, the PPP is disappointed that the Chairman, despite his recent public assurances of a free and fair election, was opposed to a short extension of the continuous registration exercise to allow persons who were unable to register and carry out other related transactions, including transfers, to do so,” the PPP lamented.
With the conclusion of the continuous registration exercise, persons who needed to change the addresses on their National Identification Cards (IDs) will not be able to do so until a new cycle commences.
Efforts made by News Room to contact other GECOM Commissioners on the matter proved futile.