‘GECOM does not wish to rig elections’- Chairperson


Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Justice (ret’d) Claudette Singh said on Wednesday that the Commission has no intention of rigging the upcoming General and Regional Elections. She sought to debunk claims made by GECOM Commissioners nominated by the Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C).

“No one is tampering with the NRR (National Register of Registrants) at GECOM. They went further to say as if GECOM wants to rig the elections –one Commissioner went that far –GECOM does not wish to rig any election,” she noted.

The PPP/C in a Facebook post alleged that GECOM is tampering with the NRR. The party said “adjustments” are being made to data on the NRR using unverified information generated from the truncated house to house registration exercise, alleging that the information is filled with errors.

However, the Chairperson explained that GECOM is updating persons’ names and addresses once they provided updated information during the house-to-house exercise.

She explained that from the house to house information, there were persons whose names are on the Preliminary List of Electors (PLE) but updated their information during the exercise.

“For example, they had some new addresses and some persons might have been married and they change their names. That is being addressed at the moment. There are persons [whose] names were on the Revised List of Electors (RLE) with an old address; well GECOM always use the latest registration transaction so that is being done to update so there is nothing with tampering but this is the time for sensation,” she noted.

The PPP/C has always been against the house to house registration and subsequently, the use of information derived from the exercise.

However, when Justice Singh stopped the July-August exercise in accordance with a court ruling, she said while the court has ruled the exercise should not continue in the interest of the timeline for elections but the process was not ruled illegal and therefore, the information will be used.

In the meantime, GECOM has placed the names of over 6,000 unverified persons on the RLE to ensure that they are not disenfranchised from voting.

After a five-day verification done by the Commission recently, it was found that 10,329 names were confirmed to be living at the addresses given during the July-August exercise but 6,534 were not at their residences.

However, the Chairman told the media that “the RLE is posted for 21 days and if persons have any objections to any names there, well they are free to make their objections. That decision was taken in order that no one will be disenfranchised so when you hear 6,000 unverified names, it is not a question of rigging, it’s a question that persons will not be disenfranchised and persons will have an opportunity to object to those names.”

She noted that the problem remains with the new registrants. The PPP/C has been objecting to the placement of new names on the list noting that the names are unverified and in some cases, the persons do not reside at the addresses given during the exercise.

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