GECOM aims to inform President on timeline for elections Wednesday –GECOM Commissioner

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The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) will be meeting on Wednesday to finalize discussion on its work programme towards the holding of General and Regional Elections.

According to Government nominated Commissioner, Vincent Alexander, the Commission hopes that on Wednesday, they can be in a position to inform President David Granger on a time for the elections.

“We are hoping by tomorrow to be able to finalise the election work programme and to be able to communicate to the president a perspective time,” Alexander told the media shortly after exiting the statutory meeting which lasted over four hours.

“The inner time seems to be early in the [new] year,” Alexander added.

When asked, Alexander said it impossible for elections to be held this year.

Government nominated Commissioner, Vincent Alexander

“Anything which can be done to make that [the holding of elections this year] possible is unacceptable in the first instance, and even if those things are done when one looks in the statutory requirements and the administrative requirements in terms of time, December is still a tall call.”

His comment come days after the Chairman of GECOM, Justice (ret’d) Claudette Singh was quoted by both the Government and Opposition representatives assuring that the Commission is working towards holding elections this year.

The secretariat had also proposed a March 2020 timeline for the holding of the elections.

The Government nominated Commissioner pointed out that GECOM may also need more money to fast-track the process to hold elections.

He said US$250,000 will be needed to fast track the delivery of ballots by just two days.

The Opposition People’s Progressive Party met with GECOM last Tuesday while the governing coalition political parties met with the Commission on Friday.

Alexander said two Commissioners were selected to sit and iron out some timelines.

The News Room has learnt that the two Commissioners are Sase Gunraj from the Opposition side and Charles Corbin from the Government side.

Opposition nominated GECOM Commissioner, Sase Gunraj

Gunraj, an Attorney-at-law, said he is concerned with the time being taken by GECOM to complete the encoding process for the merging of data from the house to house registration process with the National Register of Registrants (NRR).

He said the Commission was given up to September 15 to complete the process but was unable to do so but just over 200,000 of the 370,740 persons registered, were completed thus far.

“The secretariat is now saying that they will require at least three weeks…that has led me now to believe that all of the timelines prepared and presented by the secretariat are not to be trusted,” he said.

Gunraj argued that if the GECOM proceeds to a period of Claims and Objections period on Monday without merging the data, it will be able to hold elections this year.

GECOM has employed additional staff who are working three shifts to complete the encoding of the data but Gunraj said it is clearly not moving as fast as it should.

The Opposition had argued that a simple Claims and Objections period will eliminate the need for merging of the data from the house to house registration process which it also did not support.

The media was also informed that GECOM is reviewing its processes in which encoding will not play a critical part.

President David Granger is awaiting advice from GECOM to set a date for elections.

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