PNCR law-abiding, will consider decisions of new GECOM chair – Norton


The PNCR, the main party in the governing Coalition, Friday appeared committed to following decisions made by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) under its new chair Justice (retired) Claudette Singh.

Justice Singh, who was appointed exactly one week ago, must broker an agreement with the six Commissioners of GECOM who have been split evenly on the issue of house to house to registration exercise.

One of the options before the GECOM Chair is to suspend the $3-billion registration exercise. With this option, a decision would have to be made to use a list based on registrations done as of October last year and update it by allowing persons not on the list to register and removing the names of dead persons.

The other option would be to continue the registration exercise and use that as a basis to create a new Voters’ list.

With this option, it would be impossible to have elections this year, given all the work that needs to be done when the exercise is completed – work such as inputting the data, which has the potential for numerous errors – and the production of new ID cards, which also has the potential for errors.

The new chairman of the country’s elections body, Justice (retired) Claudette Singh [DPI photo]
“The Coalition government – that is the PNCR and the AFC – has demonstrated to all and sundry that it is a law-abiding Coalition and we will certainly take into consideration decisions that are made by the Chair of the Commission who we support,” said Dr George Norton, Vice Chairman of the PNCR.

Three Commissioners who represent the opposition PPP are vehemently opposed to the house to house registration exercise calling it illegal; their reasoning is that the exercise will go way beyond an elections date of September 18 which was indicated by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in a June 18 ruling that said the constitutional provisions of a No-Confidence motion – elections in three months – is clear and should be followed by all political actors.

The Court had itself included GECOM in its proceedings and bound it to its ruling.

The other three Commissioners of GECOM – who represent parties of the Coalition government – had agreed to the exercise under former James Patterson, whose appointment the CCJ ruled was unconstitutional, causing him to demit office.

This led the search for a new GECOM chairman; Justice Singh was selected by President David Granger from a list of six persons submitted by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.

Norton called Justice Singh “fit and proper” saying that over the years she has manifested that she is independent, and a true servant of the people of Guyana.

He noted that the appointment of Justice Singh means that GECOM is now properly constituted and can continue to prepare for free, fair, timely and credible elections.

For the PNCR, going into those elections means going together with the other parties of 2015 when it unseated the PPP from office.

“The advent of Coalition politics has shown the people of Guyana that shared governance and national unity is the way of the future,” Norton stated.

He added: “The PNCR in partnership with APNU and AFC in 2015 gave the nation a chance to hit the reset button and its leaders got a new palette on which to promote policies and programmes designed to advance the interest of all the people of Guyana..”

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