No Nominations Day next Monday as GECOM considers change in date for LGE

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December 12, 2022, had been appointed as Nomination Day for the Local Government Elections (LGE) but an ensuing challenge by the APNU+AFC Coalition Opposition to the existing voters’ list for the March 13, 2023 polls has thwarted those plans.

The News Room was reliably informed by a senior employee within the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) that political movements and independents hoping to participate in the elections next year will no longer be required to submit the lists of candidates to the returning officer on Monday.

A new date will have to be announced for Nominations Day but a shift in that date will also affect the appointed March 13, 2023 date for LGE.

The seven-member GECOM will meet at 10hrs on Thursday to chart a way forward.

In a move to the High Court, the APNU+AFC Coalition contends that the current list was extracted from the list for general and regional elections, and does not consider the residency requirement for electors.

Already the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Vishnu Persaud has proposed a brief period of claims and objections to rectify the shortfall, a suggestion that has found favour with some GECOM Commissioners and the political opposition.

Claims and Objections will allow persons above 18 years who are not on the National Register of Registrants to be registered.

It also allows persons to change their addresses and other details.

“I fully and unequivocally support the conduct of a fourteen (14) day exercise under section 24A ‘Correc-tion of the Register’ by the Guyana Elections Commission in preparation for Local Government Elec-tions.” PPP/C nominated Commissioner Clement Rohee said in a letter to the editor published in the December 08, 2022 edition of the Stabroek News.

It was Rohee who also hinted at a change in the date for local government elections.

“This will require adjustments in GECOM’s Work Plan for the said election and implicitly, a shift in the date for local government elections,” he said.

A more detailed update on GECOM’s plans is expected following the meeting on Thursday.
Guyanese are expected to go to the polls to elect leaders for 10 townships and 80 Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDC).

When the government took office in August 2020, it promised that as soon as the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) signalled its readiness for hosting LGE, a date would be named.

In 2021, monies were allocated in the national budget for LGE, but those elections were not held, as the government maintained that issues at GECOM needed to be addressed. In 2022, a total of $783 million was also allocated for LGE.
GECOM commenced a Claims and Objections Exercise in August to produce an Official List of Electors (OLE).

This exercise was conducted at all the GECOM permanent Registration Offices in the ten (10) Administrative Regions.
Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Nigel Dharamlall on October 20, 2022, wrote to Justice (Retd) Claudette Singh, Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) appointing the date based on the work plan submitted by GECOM.

As part of the Government’s commitment, some $2.9 Billion has been allocated to GECOM for preparatory works to ensure the successful planning and execution of LGE.

LGE was last held in 2018.

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