The Attorney General (AG) and Legal Affairs Minister, Anil Nandlall has raised with the Canadian High Commissioner, Lilian Chatterjee, the possibility of her country lending support to reform several pieces of Guyana’s electoral legislation to prevent a recurrence of the debacle that ensued the March 2 General and Regional Election (GRE). He made his pitch during a recent meeting with Chatterjee in Georgetown earlier this week.
“I raised with them the possibility of sending experts to assist me in reforming the electoral legislation, to ensure that the tragedy that occurred after March 2,  never reoccurs. You know that the government has committed to look at the Representation of the People Act and to look at various pieces of legislation to reform them in many respect so that we cover all the loopholes that have been exploited by political fraudsters after the March 2 Elections,” he said during his live call-in programme “Issues in the News” that was aired on Tuesday night.
One of the objectives that will be achieved in reforming these electoral laws, Nandlall said, includes the mandatory publishing of Statements of Poll (SOPS) on a website by each contesting political party. He also noted the need for the implementation of oversight mechanisms to guard against ‘rogue’ Returning Officers “declaring wrong results”.
Nandlall’s intention to effect these changes to the electoral regime is in response to the controversy that erupted during the March GRE, where the Region Four Returning Officer (RO), Clairmont Mingo was accused of fudging his declaration, and the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) refusing to make public its SOPs.
The AG also stressed the need for stringent measures to be employed in the hiring procedures and practices of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). Moreover, he noted that a penal regime must be implemented as the elections body to protect against fraud.
“So that you have a heavy penal regime accompanying electoral offences in order for persons to be deterred when considered whether to do wickedness at elections time. All these matters are under review by my ministry and I need as much technical assistance as I can get. And Canada has rendered significant support to our electoral process over the past few years, and the High Commission indicated her government’s preparedness to continue to assist us that regard,” he said.