Carter Center reps. meet with GECOM


Two representatives of the Carter Center met with officials of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Monday morning about issues coming out of the historic December 21 No-Confidence motion.

News Room understands that the meeting stemmed from a request made by the Carter Center to discuss the timeline for general and regional elections in Guyana and other issues.

The meeting was held with Chairman of the Commission James Patterson, the Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield and the Opposition nominated Commissioners.

Sase Gunraj of the PPP told reporters outside GECOM after the meeting that the officials were updated on the situation at GECOM after they enquired about the timeline and laws for holding of elections.

It is reported that the officials also asked about registration of voters.

Opposition nominated GECOM Commissioner, Sase Gunraj speaks with reporters after the meeting

“They did not express concerns but they did ask about timelines and of course we presented the various bits of information that we have on that issue,” Gunraj said.

When asked whether the Carter Center can play a role of mediation with GECOM, Gunraj said the constitution is clear and GECOM has a mandate to execute.

“[I] don’t know if there is a role for mediation with the Carter Center. It is not the role of GECOM to facilitate such mediation, the constitution is clear on the holding of elections.

“Our role, our duty is to hold elections when they are constitutionally due. Anything outside of that, I don’t see any mediation in that, there is no role for mediation in that,” the Opposition nominated commissioner said.

Meanwhile, another Opposition Commissioner, Robeson Benn said he is satisfied that the Carter Center has demonstrated an “interest in Guyana’s democracy.”

He said the meeting signals international concern about elections in Guyana.

GECOM has already made it clear that it needs 148 days to run off general and regional elections, and any rush can produce undesirable consequences.

The Secretariat has not commenced any work because it needs to be given the go-ahead by the Elections Commission, which is made up of the Chairman, three Commissioners from the governing coalition and three Commissioners from the Opposition PPP.

The 148-day timeline is the earliest the Secretariat can run off elections and excludes the possibility of holding house to house registration, which could take nine months.

The Government is adamant that it needs house to house registration before any elections, while the Opposition will not budge on its position of having elections by March 19.

The Carter Center has observed every election in Guyana since 1992.

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