The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) said that is in receipt of several reports of threats and intimidation from its field staff who are conducting house-to-house registration.

The Commission said that over the last few days, several enumerators were attacked and injured due to dog bites which were allegedly instigated by residents who are not in agreement with the registration exercise.

“It was also reported that some persons are using threatening language, instilling fear, and providing misinformation that the staff will not be paid for their service. As a consequence, the Commission has engaged the Guyana Police Force to provide surveillance in communities and to assist with the security of the field staff.”

The Commission is urging citizens to desist from unlawful and obscene acts as they will be arrested and prosecuted.

In addition, the Commission wishes to remind citizens that registration is a legal requirement and they have a responsibility to ensure they are registered.

The house-to-house registration being carried out by GECOM is marred in controversy following the Caribbean Court of Justices (CCJ’s) validation of the no-confidence motion, which has now reduced the David Granger-led regime into a “caretaker” government.

The controversy was further exacerbated after a notice signed by former Chairman Justice (Retired) James Patterson was published informing the nation that the process of house-to-house will commence from July 20, 2019. The notice was placed days before the CCJ ruled that Patterson’s appointment was unconstitutional and therefore flawed.

There are factions within society who believe that the CCJ’s ruling on the appointment of Patterson has overtaken the operationalisation order. There are also some who believe that the order is unaffected by the ruling since it was gazetted when Patterson’s position was deemed as bona fide.

The coalition government, in the meanwhile, has given its support to the process, claiming that it contains the required methodological components to accurately capture electorate data for a new voters’ list following the expiration of the last one in April of this year.

President Granger is on the record claiming that the expired list cannot be reused since it is “bloated” by over 200,000. However, Chief Elections Officer (CEO) of GECOM Keith Lowenfield says that the Head of State’s claim is speculative.

The PPP/C, on the other hand, is contending that the house-to-house process will surpass the constitutional deadline imposed by Article 106 (6) and (7), which provides guidance on the way forward after a government has fallen to a no-confidence motion. Elections, it says, must be held within three months.

An unsuccessful attempt was made weeks ago to stop the process when Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire refused to grant an application by attorney-at-law Christopher Ram, who had approached the court seeking a Conservatory Order prohibiting the election body’s registration exercise.

The argument was that the ongoing process will surpass the September 18 elections deadline. According to previous reports, the Chief Justice requested more evidence to persuade her that the exercise will go past that date.


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