AG asks High Court to allow completion of House to House registration

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Ahead of the August 14 ruling, Attorney General Basil Williams has asked the High Court to allow the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to move ahead with the ongoing House to House registration exercise.

Williams, who is one of the respondents in a challenge to the registration exercise, told the Court Monday, “I am submitting that GECOM shall be allowed to complete the registration because it’s only a matter of weeks.”

“They should be allowed to complete what they have started,” he told Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George-Wiltshire during the hearing in Court 3 of the Supreme Court of Judicature on Monday.

The Attorney General was presenting his arguments in a challenge to the constitutionality of the Registration Exercise which is slated to conclude on October 20.

Williams was questioned about the legality of the exercise and what happens if someone is not registered

“There is no disenfranchisement,” he said in relation to arguments raised by the opposing side that persons who are not at their place of residence at the time of the visit by the Enumerators, will be removed from the list of electors.

The Chief Justice asked what would occur in cases where persons are working in interior locations but would like to be registered at their homes.

The Attorney General said those persons can return home to be registered as they can be made aware of the process through GECOM’s advertisements and political parties.

Earlier, Attorney Neil Boston, who is representing Chief Elections Officer of the Guyana Elections Commission, Keith Lowefield, explained that after the registration exercise, a preliminary list of electors will be prepared which will be posted at all public places.

As such, he said persons who are not on the preliminary list can visit GECOM offices and be registered.

Questioned by the Chief Justice if house to house registration is the only way to ensure everyone is registered as opposed to revising the last list of electors, Boston said: “it is the most efficient way.”

The challenge to the house to house registration was filed by Attorney Christopher Ram on July 22.

He is seeking a declaration that the registration exercise is in violation of the letter and spirit of the judgment of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and the Constitution of Guyana.

He is also asking for an order “compelling” GECOM to immediately take all steps and actions necessary and requisite to told General and Regional Elections on or before September 18, 2019.

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