It’s an offence for Jagdeo to ‘incite’ persons not to register – Attorney General

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Attorney General Basil Williams Monday afternoon said it is an offence for the Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo to “incite” others not to cooperate with the national house to house registration started by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) last Saturday.

The Opposition Leader last Saturday announced that the PPP would not be cooperating with the exercise.

“That’s an offence. He is actually procuring and counselling the breach of a law of Guyana, so it’s a criminal offence.

“It’s an offence to tell people not to register,” Williams told reporters at his Carmichael Street, Georgetown office. 

“You need to register; if you don’t register you’re guilty of an offence.

“So, if someone incites you not to register, they are counselling and procuring you to commit an offence,” Williams declared.

Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo

Under the registration act, “Every eligible person who refuses to make an application for registration shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of $16,250 or imprisonment for six months.”

The Opposition Leader had stated that the decision of the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, to proceed with the house to house registration goes against the July 12 ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice, which urged GECOM and the political leaders to abide by the constitutional provisions of a No Confidence motion, namely elections in three months. 

“That order was binding on GECOM which was a party to the proceedings. Mr Lowenfield’s pursuit of house-to-house registration using an Order secretly gazetted and dated June 11th, which was overtaken by the ruling of the CCJ and against the advice of GECOM’s legal officer, is contemptuous of the CCJ’s order.

“He has taken it upon himself to make this decision all on his own and in the absence of a functioning Elections Commission,” Jagdeo stated.

The Attorney-General said that despite the opposition of the PPP to the registration process, it is seeing results.

“People are registering. Certainly in my area on the East Coast (in) all the villages people are registering.

“So, one thing is being said by the leaders but the people on the ground are registering,” Williams stated.

He said that there have been reports of registration officers being threatened in certain areas, but Williams said “of course, the security forces will be there to protect the people.”

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