Over 17,000 persons still to collect ID cards; GECOM grants extension

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Approximately 17,609 persons have not collected their Identification Cards from the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and the entity is looking at how to separate those names from the Revised List of Electors (RLE).

GECOM published the names of 18,409 persons who have not collected their ID cards between 2008 and 2018; the names were published in the four daily newspapers from November 8 to December 2, 2019.

Commissioners told the media on Tuesday evening that just over 800 persons showed up to collect their ID cards over the past month.

As a result of a large number of persons who did not turn up, the Commission has agreed to extend this period indefinitely but it still has to decide what to do with the names of persons who do not turn up before the RLE is prepared.

“We are still discussing how we will deal with the persons who have not uplifted their ID cards,” GECOM Commissioner Vincent Alexander told the media moments after exiting the Commission’s weekly statutory meeting.

“There must be a mechanism that focuses on those persons on elections day. Some mechanism should be used [but] I don’t think we’re quite final on the mechanism to ensure that there is an alertness to the fact that here is a set of people who did not uplift their ID cards,” he added.

Chairman of GECOM, Justice (ret’d) Claudette Singh had told the media that the names of these persons will be placed on a supplementary list on elections day for greater scrutiny.

However, Alexander explained that this method is under review after some concerns were raised about possible confusion with the presence of two lists on E-Day.

According to Alexander, a large number of persons who have collected their ID cards are from Georgetown, Parika, East Bank Essequibo and Whim in Berbice.

GECOM had disclosed that majority of the persons who have not collected their ID cards are from Colidgen, East Coast Demerara (ECD), East Bank Demerara, South Georgetown, New Amsterdam and Whim.

See table below with the number of uncollected ID cards by registration area: 

Initially, there were more persons but GECOM used its information supplied by the General Registration Office (GRO) to remove ID cards belonging to persons who have died.

Meanwhile, the Commission is no closer to a decision on the use of data acquired during the July-August house-to-house registration exercise.

GECOM is awaiting the return of cross-matched data from the overseas company responsible for the process.

The company is currently cross-matching Claims and Objections data and some of the entries which the system did not pick up as duplicates in the first round. The results are expected back shortly.

“This has basically hamstrung us in relation to the production of lists and decisions in relation thereto,” GECOM Commissioner Sase Gunraj told the media.

He also disclosed that the Commission met with the Carter Center which will be providing an electoral observer mission and the UNDP which will be providing technical assistance to GECOM for the conduct of the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections.

Additionally, both Commissioners have said GECOM has sufficient funds for the preparations and conduct of elections.

Nominations Day is set for January 10 after which the Commission will be sure of how many parties are contesting the elections and move the printing of ballot papers and acquisition of other key materials.

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