GECOM could start continuous registration in March for LGE
The seven-member Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has granted approval for the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) to proceed with preparations for the holding of Local Government Elections (LGE) which were statutorily due in 2021 but differed to this year.
Two GECOM commissioners confirmed with the News Room late Tuesday that the registration exercise could start in March.
The continuous registration will likely run for three months at a time and followed by a period of claims and objections. The Commission expects to have in place an updated and acceptable voters’ list by the end of October 2022 which will pave the way for LGE to be run off before the end of the year.
The public will be given notice in due course. This period allows persons, who will become 18 years old by the end of an identified period before the elections to be registered.
Individuals who have had changes in their particulars, including addresses and names, can also utilise the period to make the necessary adjustments.
According to GECOM Commissioners, the Chief Elections Officer Vishnu Persaud is now tasked with providing a timeline to the Commission for this process of continuous registration and claims and objections.
“Once we get the documents and we discuss it, then immediately we will give the go ahead… we anticipate the process to start within the next two weeks,” People’s Progressive Party nominated GECOM commissioner Sase Gunraj told the News Room.
Some $783 million has been allocated for Local Government Elections in the 2022 national budget. Last year $1 billion was set aside but those elections were not held.
This year’s allocation was the subject of much questioning in the House with Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Gail Teixeira pointing out that under wages and salaries, about $583 million has been allocated for the payment of more than 10,000 temporary staff who will be hired during the LGE period.
She also noted that money has been allocated for increased security services, the renting of containers to store ballot papers and the publication of advertisements for the elections in all print media.
Opposition Parliamentarian David Patterson had pressed the minister on whether specific sums had been allocated for a new voter’s list, contending that this is much-needed ahead of the elections.
Teixeira, however, explained that a new voter’s list is not a budgetary issue. Rather, it is one that GECOM’s Chairman and its commissioners have to make a decision on.