Opposition top brass, GECOM invited to consultation on amendments to election laws

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The government has invited the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and members of the political opposition to also be engaged in the public consultation on the proposed amendments to the Representation of the People’s Act (ROPA).

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Gail Texeira explained that the consultation process has already commenced.

Among the stakeholders the government is expecting to hear from, are representatives from GECOM, as well as former President, David Granger and Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon.

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Gail Teixeira (Photo: DPI)

“Of course, GECOM itself has the opportunity to submit its recommendations, as well, if it so wishes as a unit in itself or individuals in the commission…I’ve sent to Mr. Granger, I’ve sent to Mr. Harmon, I’ve sent to Mrs. Lawrence…I have sent to the AFC as a distinct [party]. I’ve tried to ensure that no one would say from that grouping that they weren’t met. I wanted to recognise each in their own right,” Minister Teixeira told DPI on Wednesday.

She said her ministry has been tasked with executing and supervising the process. According to her, the consultation is expected to reach a vast section of society, including members of the diaspora.

“We will [continue to] post these up electronically, as well as communicating with the political parties and stakeholders by email and with hardcopies where possible. So that has already started,” the minister said.

She said the consultation will stretch over a six-week period, where stakeholders and the public would be able to make comments and give suggestions via email or posting on the ministry’s social media page.

One of the main purposes of the proposed amendments, Minister Teixeira reminded, is to avoid a recurrence of the events which followed the March 2020 General and Regional Elections.

“We want people to look at those and see what they feel and ask themselves ‘Are the recommendations sufficient? Are there areas in terms of the process of elections from registration through to proclamation? …have we covered all the corners in terms of what may be ambiguities or opportunities for people to do things that would harm or undermine the rights of the Guyanese people to vote and elect the representatives of their choice?’ So, we are trying to prevent what happened in 2020 [from] happening again,” the minister reiterated.

The government is also expected to release two other proposals relating to amendments of the laws governing the electoral process for consultation with members of civil society, as “there is nothing to hide,” Minister Teixeira said. (Department of Public Information)

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