‘Mischievous’ – Gunraj says of GECOM’s latest notice on Claims and Objections

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Opposition nominated Commissioner of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Sase Gunraj Friday afternoon slammed the electoral body’s Secretariat for its latest notification in which it said that all voters must verify their registration record during the upcoming Claims and Objection exercise.

In a statement on Friday, GECOM said that every person whose name appears on the Preliminary List of Electors (PLE) must verify their registration record.

This now means that the exercise is not only for those making claims and objections but for every citizen desirous of ensuring that they are listed on the final voter’s list.

At an “urgent” press conference held at the Opposition Leader’s Church Street, Georgetown office, Gunraj labelled the announcement “hogwash and mischievous” but said it was not surprising.

He speculated that it is misinformation from the Secretariat, pointing out that it was never a decision taken by the Commission neither was such a stance discussed at the Commission level.

The PPP nominated Commissioner questioned whether this was an attempt to force another version of the recently completed house to house registration on Guyanese.

GECOM said in its statement “every person whose name appear on the Preliminary List of Electors (PLE) must visit the Registration office in their respective area with their National Identification Card to verify their registration record in order to be included in the Official List of Electors (OLE).”

Gunraj wants GECOM to say why a person must present themselves with their National Identification Card during the exercise when a voter doesn’t even need an ID Card to vote.

“Where did this stipulation come from?” he questioned.

Gunraj was supported by his colleague Commissioner Robeson Benn in condemning this latest statement from the Secretariat.

Benn said, “We are now on dangerous ground with regards to the work of the secretariat and its integrity and we cannot rely on the secretariat with what seems to be one-sided and bias.”

The two Commissioners were also up in arms over the 49 days allotted to the Claims and Objections exercise which begins on October 1, 2019, and ends November 18, 2019.

Gunraj and Benn said that it was agreed by the Commission that the period to be allocated would be 35 days.

They now want the Secretariat to explain why the gazetted document prescribes a period of 49 days and urged that sanctions be imposed on the individual officeholders responsible for this “misinformation.”

The countrywide exercise will be conducted at all GECOM Registration Offices countrywide and will conclude on November 18, 2019.

Persons have until November 11, 2019, to make a claim to be included on the list if they are a Guyanese citizen by birth, descent, naturalisation or registration, 18 years or older or will attain the age of 18 by December 31, 2019.

A citizen of a Commonwealth country living in Guyana for a period of no less than one year preceding 31st December 2019 can also be registered to be on the list.

Over the next few days, the Commission will set up temporary offices and mobiles countrywide to aid the efficient conduct of the exercise and will publish the full list of those offices to ensure applicants/registrants can access the office within close proximity to them to have their transaction done.

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