Peoples’ Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) executive member, Anil Nandlall, is concerned about the data accumulated from the suspended House-to-house registration exercise which is expected to be merged with the National Register of Registrants Database (NRRDB). Nandlall is contending that the over 370,000 registrations made during the six-week process is unrealistic when nearly a supposed half of the population opted boycott.

Nandlall told the Guyana Standard that normally, a house-to-house exercise would take approximately 15 months to complete as was the case in four instances when the process was activated.

“That [registration process] was done just before 1992, it was done in 1997, it was done in 2001, it was done in 2008, and on each occasion, it took approximately fifteen months to register the entire country. And the final data, in terms of the list of electors, was just over 600,000.”

Nandlall said it is incomprehensible that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) was able to make 370,822 registrations in just six weeks, when the comparative statistical observations indicate that this number is virtually unachievable with almost half of the population refusing to participate.

 “So, in six weeks, from July 20th to August 31st, they were able to do 370,822 registration transactions in areas where half of the population boycotted this exercise. Imagine if they were going to take the full period of 15 months and the PPP participated, [then] they would have ended up with a list of over two million…If this is what they were able to accumulate in six weeks with half of the population boycotting it,” he said.

The former Attorney-General further stated that when the numbers of registrations per region were brought under the microscope, “flaws” in the data were observed.

He said that registrations made in communities far exceed not only the population minus house-to-house objectors, but also, the overall population of those villages.

“That is why this data is dangerously flawed. This data that government commissioners and government are fighting to input and use is deeply flawed; dangerously erroneous. This could not be correct, he emphasised.

Quoting data, Nandlall said was obtained from GECOM, the politician reported that in Anna Region, Region Three (Essequibo Islands/West Demerara), the number of registrants was 15,893, while 24,697 was recorded for Parika, and La Grange recording 21,172.

These numbers, he said, are high if one takes into consideration that these communities are predominantly occupied by PPP/C supporters, who boycotted the process.

He added that should this merging of data occur, it will affect the hosting of the upcoming elections.

“If these statistics are used for electoral purposes then there will not be free and fair elections in Guyana, and I want to make that very, very clear. That is my personal opinion based on what I have seen.” Nandlall warned.

The government has already publicly stated its position on the matter, with the latest reinforcement of its stance coming from its Chief Whip and Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally, who stated that GECOM “knows what it is doing”.

Ally said that the merging of the data was a decision made by the independent GECOM and therefore, government will “go with the flow”.

No Positive Development

Nandlall on the other hand, is of the opinion that GECOM is not moving fast enough. This urgency, stems from the fact that elections ought to have been held three months after the government falls to a confidence motion, as articulated by the Constitution.

The former Legal Affairs Minister, said that GECOM met yesterday and at the conclusion of that meeting, there were no “positive” developments.

“It would appear as though another week will pass by, and no positive update is emanating from GECOM. The commissioners continue to haggle over what data should be used; over whether the house-to-house data should be used; the timeframe it will take to use the data and the Chairperson seems to be presiding over these pontifications while our constitution continues to bleed and the people of this country continue to be denied an elections within the constitutionally-prescribed timeframe.” The politician said on his weekly live call-in programme “Issues in the News”.

Nandlall pointed out that while the “haggle” persists at GECOM, government continues to operate contrary to how it should as a Caretaker administration.

Can Be Avoided

Nandlall said that GECOM is having discussions on the timeframe to input the data and cross-referencing methodologies that will still need to be verified. This is a tedious process, he noted, especially when the authorities reportedly do not possess the technological capacity to do so.

“That will take months and we don’t even – I am told – have the technological capacity in Guyana to do it. And that is why they are exploring other countries to do it. They are looking at Jamaica, and they are looking at other jurisdictions. This will take months.”

All this can be avoided, Nandlall opined, if GECOM puts the matter to a vote, and the Chairperson votes in the “correct way”.

“And what is the correct way? What is the logical path? What is the legal thing to do in the circumstances having regard to the fact that elections are overdue? It is to refresh the list that expired on the April 30 [2019], and hold a suitable claims and objections period/cycle and go to elections. All this shenaniganism…Can be avoided. But no, they [government] are afraid of that list; that very list that catapulted them into a majority in 2011; the same list that catapulted into government in 2015; the same list that was used for two Local Government Elections; they are running from that list,” said Nandlall.

The decision to suspend the house-to-house process was made last week Tuesday by the newly-appointed Chairperson of GECOM, Justice (Retired) Claudette Singh. It is at her behest also, that the steps will be taken to merge the data acquired from the scrapped registration process with the NRRDB. Thereafter, an “extended” claims and objections period is scheduled to commence.


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