Elections in ‘late November’ – GECOM tells President

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Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Justice (ret’d) James Patterson has informed President David Granger that the Commission will be ready to hold elections in “late November.” This will be after the completion of the ongoing house-to-house registration.

In a letter to the President on Tuesday, the Chairman noted that “based on advice I have been given by the Chief Elections Officer, I would proffer that the Commission would be in a position to conduct General and Regional Elections no earlier than late November 2019.”

An official list of electors will have a qualifying date of October 31, 2019.

The Chairman said that after consultations with the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield and the secretariat, it was determined that it is impossible to conduct elections before March 21 which was required by the Constitution after the passage of the December 21 No-Confidence motion. He also stated that it was also impossible to do so any time before April 30 – a date suggested by Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo since the current electoral list will expire then.

The President in a letter to the Commission on March 13 mandated GECOM to present a work programme and outline its financial needs to fast track a date for elections.

While the Chairman pointed out that the absence of three Commissioners from the meetings of GECOM frustrated the process, he said “being aware as I am of the constitutional imperatives, I consider myself obliged to officially update you accordingly and provide some appropriate information which may be taken into consideration in the exercise of the functions which inhere in your office.”

Patterson informed the President that the Commission needs $3.5B is required to hold elections.

“Kindly note that significant critical path activities associated with elections cannot commence prior to the availability of these funds to the Commission,” the Chairman said in his letter.

Further, he stated that “in the circumstances, no election date should be contemplated less than five months after these funds are placed at the disposal of and under the control of GECOM.”

Below are photos of the letter sent to the President.

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