Jagdeo claims ‘nightmare’ stories in ‘illegal’ registration exercise

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Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday claimed “nightmare” stories of underage children and foreign nationals being registered in the national house to house registration process which he has called “illegal.”

Jagdeo has urged Guyanese not to take part in the exercise; his party has declared non-cooperation, saying the exercise is at odds with a judgement of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

He said the June 18 decision of the court triggered the constitutional provisions of a No-Confidence motion, namely elections in three months.

He relied on the comments Wednesday by Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire, who said also that it was her understanding of the CCJ ruling that elections are due by September 18.

“The leadership of the PPP met and we decided that we will not be complicit in an act that undermines the constitution and a decision of the Caribbean Court of Justice,” Jagdeo said at his weekly news conference at his Church Street, Georgetown office.

An estimated 20, 000 persons registered in the initial days of the exercise. Jagdeo claimed that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) cannot strong-arm anyone into registering.

He urged anyone being forced to register to contact his office so that they can file legal action.

Jagdeo repeated his claims of the registration of underage persons and foreign nationals but did not provide statistics or provide any examples at his news conference.

He said he wondered whether the intention of the interim caretaker Government is to create enough confusion to have a list so flawed that elections cannot be held.

Jagdeo said that the claim by the Government that there are over 200, 000 ineligible persons on the last voter’s list as pure nonsense.

The Government has made that claim repeatedly but has not provided any proof that this is so.

The Opposition has argued that a Claims and Objections period can get new persons registered and remove those who shouldn’t be on it.

Jagdeo backed up his claim by relying on the statement by Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield who Tuesday said that indeed a Claims and Objections period can sanistise the last list that was used to hold credible elections.

Jagdeo insisted that the current exercise will have to be scrapped as it is being held at a time when there is no functioning GECOM, since there is no chairman and no meetings are being held.

The Commission advises and dictates the work of the Chief Elections Officer and his Secretariat.

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