The recent decision made by the Chairwoman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to halt the house-to-house registration process and to use the already-accumulated data is not finding favour with former Attorney General Anil Nandlall.

The politician let his dissatisfaction known during a live call-in programme, “Issues in the News”, that was streamed on the Peoples’ Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C)’s Facebook page on Tuesday night. This was hours after GECOM announced that it was going to bring the house-to-house process to an end on August 31 (this Saturday) and that the data already gathered will be merged with the existing National Register of Registrants Database (NRRDB).

Nandlall is contending that the decision of the head of GECOM, Justice Claudette Singh, was made based on “compromise”. It was done to give relief to both sides – the government and the opposition, Nandlall said.

He posited that local judges and constitutional officeholders are not ruling as “firmly” as they should, and this is due to the “political atmosphere”.

“This position was arrived at because of [an] attempt of the chairperson to meet and to compromise. The judges are doing the same; they are not ruling firmly as they should. When they give you one relief, they give the other side relief…And that is the agonising, unfortunate, and regrettable product of the political atmosphere and the pressure that is being brought to bear on constitutional officeholders who seem to be buckling under this pressure. GECOM’s Head is an independent official – just like a judge. [So] why buckle under pressure? Why not do the thing that is obviously the right thing?”

The attorney-at-law went on to say that the process should have been immediately stopped and not given a cut-off time.

“I have to say, that I am not impressed with the decision. It should have been immediately stopped. The second component of the decision is even more disturbing: the merging of the data. This [merging of the data] is really rewarding those who have acted in defiance of the constitution, the ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), because we are still using the data generated from the exercise,” Nandlall argued.

Justice Singh, at the Statutory Meeting of the GECOM held on Tuesday last, instructed the following:

“1. House to House Registration must be brought to an end. As such, Order 25 of 2019 published in the Official Gazette should be amended for the exercise to conclude on 31st August, 2019 instead of 20th October, 2019.

  1. Based on the ruling of the Chief Justice on 14th August, 2019 that House to House Registration is not unlawful and is constitutional, the data garnered from that registration exercise must be merged with the existing National Register of Registrants Database (NRRDB).
  2. In this regard, the Commission will move to ensure all arrangements for the publication of a credible Preliminary List of Electors (PLE) before commencement of an extensive Claims and Objections (C&O) exercise.”

GECOM said that it will continue to further deliberate on other matters of importance for the holding of General and Regional Elections within the shortest possible time and the Secretariat will continue to implement a number of operations activities, in particular, the training of polling day staff and procurement of non-sensitive materials.


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