APNU Commissioners withhold vote as GECOM finalises roadmap for LGE this year

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With the deciding vote coming from Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Justice (ret’d) Claudette Singh, a work plan was Tuesday finalised for the holding of Local Government Elections (LGE) this year.

The three APNU-nominated GECOM Commissioners – Vincent Alexander, Desmond Trotman and Charles Corbin – did not vote, PPP/C-nominated GECOM Commissioner Sase Gunraj disclosed.

“Even after interrogation [of the work plan] by Opposition Commissioners, they opted not to vote in favour of or against the work plan,” Gunraj told reporters during a zoom interview.

GECOM Commissioner Sase Gunraj (Photo: News Room/September 09, 2021)

According to the work plan, Justice Singh will be ready to notify the Minister of Local Government and Regional Development of GECOM’s readiness by mid-March 2023 but the final date for the elections will have to be announced by the minister.

Subject minister, Nigel Dharamlall had previously announced March 13, 2023, for local government polls but challenges to the voters’ list and then a rejection of boundary amendments, have delayed those plans.

Briefing the press after the GECOM meeting on Tuesday, Gunraj said those issues are also now rectified.

“Several previous attempts to have the work plan discussed and finalised were stymied by various issues, including division in constituencies, local authority areas and subjecting the list to a claims and objections exercise… I dare say those issues are now resolved,” Gunraj said.

He would not offer much details on the work plan.

In a press release, GECOM said the Secretariat will proceed with the full implementation of the relevant statutory and administrative activities to ensure the successful conduct of the elections in the 80 Local Authority Areas (LAAs) countrywide.

“Going forward, the GECOM Secretariat will immediately move to roll out a robust civic and voter education programme, appoint Electoral Registrars and Assistant Electoral Registrars, and extract the Preliminary List of Voters (PLV).

“These activities are directly linked to the preparation of Registers of Voters for each of the 80 Local Authority Areas,” the statement noted.

Preparation for the conduct of Local Government Elections commenced in 2022.

In this regard, the GECOM Secretariat had already completed the training of management and polling day staff for all of the Local Authority Areas, and the receipt of applications for and approval of symbols submitted by political parties, voluntary groups and individuals who intend to contest in the elections.

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