New electoral laws would see Regions 3, 4 & 6 being subdivided 


Newly-proposed amendments to the Representation of the People’s Act (RoPA), Guyana’s main elections law, could see Regions Three, Four and Six being subdivided to facilitate easier tabulation of votes. 

This was made known during a national stakeholder consultation hosted on Tuesday at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre at Liliendaal, Georgetown. 

There, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall SC noted that earlier consultations on this law resulted in the newer proposals to divide two additional electoral districts (administrative regions). That is, Regions Three and Six. 

Both regions, it is proposed, will be subdivided into three districts. For example, it is proposed that Region Six will be divided into: the East Bank Berbice to Canje sub-district, the Upper Corentyne sub-district and the Lower Corentyne sub-district. 

It was initially proposed that Region Four alone will be divided into four subdistricts: East Bank Demerara, North Georgetown, South Georgetown and East Coast Demerara. 

Stakeholders gathered at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre at Liliendaal, Georgetown for the national stakeholders forum on Guyana’s electoral laws (Photo: News Room/ October 25, 2022)

Now, however, the districts with the largest number of people may also be divided. 

“These subdistricts will now have a Supernumerary Returning Officer presiding over them, performing what used to be the functions of the Returning Officer for the whole district. 

“All the ballots, the Statements of Poll (SOPs)… shall go to a centre presided by this officer that would have been ordinarily counted by a Returning Officer,” he explained. 

Under the current law, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), separates Guyana into ten electoral districts. It then sets up a number of polling places in each district and determines beforehand how many persons can vote at each polling place.

Once voting is complete at a polling place, the votes are added up and the person in charge of the Polling Place would then be required to prepare a statement showing how many votes were cast for each party contesting the election.

All the statements from each district eventually go to one person in the District – the Returning Officer. Under the changes proposed, the statements from each sub-district would have to go to the Returning Officer.

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