Mahipaul presses gov’t on LGE; Jagdeo wants ‘test run’ of amended election laws


Opposition Parliamentarian and Shadow Local Government Minister Ganesh Mahipaul during his budget presentation this week reminded the government that Local Government Elections (LGE) is long overdue and steps should be taken to ensure those polls are held soonest.

The government has in turn assured that monies have been allocated in the 2022 budget, just as it was last year, for local government elections to be held.

The government has also said that once the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) notifies of its readiness, it is willing and ready to participate.

Considerations of the budget estimates will commence next week where more details on funding for GECOM and elections will be revealed.

“This regime is not focused on upholding and ensuring the holding of Local Government Elections and the only reason is because they are afraid of the APNU+AFC coalition,” Mahipaul had said.

But on Thursday, Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo said that the government would be happy if, before the holding of LGE, the country’s election laws could be amended.

He said that will allow for a test run of the amendments ahead of national elections set for 2025.

“We believe [it is crucial] for holding local government elections as a test run because many of the measures that we are putting in place could then be implemented in the local government reform,” Jagdeo told a news conference at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.

Already, amendments have been completed for the Representation of the People Act (RoPA), one of the pieces of legislation that governs elections in Guyana.

But there are to be additional amendments to the National Registration Act and the Election Laws (Amendment) Act to address the issue of national registration.

The new GECOM Chief Executive Officer has said that preparation for LGE and rebuilding trust and confidence in the electoral system are among his priorities.

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