Dogs set on workers, other problems hindering House to House registration
As a result of misinformation being pedalled about the ongoing House to House registration exercise, Enumerators employed by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) are facing various challenges to get their work done.
According to the Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, GECOM has so far registered over 50,000 persons but as a result of claims that the activity is illegal, staff are being attacked.
“We’ve had incidences where dogs are let out on our numerators in the field; we’ve had scenarios in which numerators are told that as staff working with us that they will not be paid and should no longer participate in the process.
“These are all erroneous,” the CEO told the media in the presence of newly appointed Chair of GECOM, Justice (retired) Claudette Singh on Monday morning.
The Opposition has deemed the process illegal, arguing that it will not be completed by September 18 –the date by which the party wants General and Regional Elections to be held in keeping with a three-month constitutional deadline.
Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo had also told supporters that his party will not be cooperating with the process.
The CEO on Monday said the process will continue until the new Chair and Commissioners decide on the way forward.
In the meantime, to quell the issue, he noted that the agency’s Public Relations Department is working to allay misinformation as it relates to the process.
“We’ve been working hard to persuade prospective registrants that this is a legal activity,” he said adding that numerators will be paid as monies were already budgeted for the process to move forward.
Attorney Sase Gunraj, an Opposition-nominated Commissioner on GECOM, said he will lobby for the House to House registration exercise to stop.
“My responsibility is to present the arguments…I think it [the registration exercise] is unlawful and particularly in light of the timeline set out by the Caribbean Court of Justice” for elections to be held, he noted.
Government nominated Commissioner Vincent Alexander maintained that there is a need for the registration exercise. He said, “it is not just a question of timely elections; it is a question of credible elections as well.”
The Chair of GECOM has noted that she will be meeting with the Commissioners from the two sides separately before meeting with the full Commission.