The merging of the house-to-house registration data with the National Register of Registrants Database (NRRDB) will result in unnecessary lengthy data processing that will ultimately push the hosting of elections to April next year, argues Peoples’ Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo.

The Opposition Leader at a news conference hosted at this Church Street, Georgetown Office earlier this afternoon, said that he was made privy to the Guyana Elections Commission’s (GECOM) work programme which reveals that the merge will take months before the claims and objections period begins.

“I saw the GECOM’s work programme and the most optimistic scenario is to go to claims and objections in November because the merger will take about three months,” he said.

Jagdeo and his party have been championing for the use of the claims and objective process while the government touted the use of the house-to-house method. GECOM Chairwoman, Justice Claudette Singh, recently ordered that the latter be halted by the end of this week and the data already garnered to be added to the existing NRRDB.

She ruled also that an “extensive” claims and objections period be conducted.
Jagdeo is now saying that the merging is a waste of time and the commission should explore alternatives to acquire the data required, rather than processing a massive amount of data to extract a small fraction of what is actually needed.

He postulated that of the reported 285,000 persons that were registered by the house-to-house process, some 283,000 are already part of the NRRDB.
Therefore, he posited, the merging of the data will result in mass duplication.

While Jagdeo could not prove that there will be 283,000 double entries, he theorised that in a “normal” cycle of registration there are “usually” about 6,000 new registrants.

“So, if you’ve completed about a third of the work, one would assume that you have to divide the 6,000 by three – around that. So, you’ll have about 2,000 registrants [of the 285,000] registered [by the house-to-house process].”
Only the 2,000 names will be added to the NRRDB after the processing of 285,000 entries is completed.”

The politician suggested an alternative which involves the targeting of the new registrants that will ensure that time is saved.

“There are over 20 registration divisions throughout the country. If you divide 2,000 by 20, you get a hundred persons. So, all you [each registration division] have to say to those hundred people is: ‘come in and register’, and we save three months,” he said.

This must be done in an environment that is “consistent with GECOM’s manual, which says that it must be done in the presence of scrutineers from the parties,” Jagdeo said.

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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