The governing People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has proposed changes to the Representation of the People Act (ROPA) to deter fraud. The proposed changes include life imprisonment and multimillion-dollar fines for those found guilty of tampering with elections. But the Alliance For Change (AFC) – one-half of the main parliamentary opposition – is adamant that these proposed measures will only strike fear in elections officials and deter employment at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

In a statement published on its Facebook page, the AFC said: “[That] the draconian penalties of $10,000,000.00 (ten million dollars) fine and ten years to life imprisonment for certain new offences as well as old ones as wholly with the purpose to deter employment and drive fear in conducting the duties of elections officials.”

It added: “human errors unknowingly can be made as has happened. Though having these corrected, an official can now suffer severe penalties.”

The party said that the possibility exists for discriminatory application of who will be charged and prosecuted.

Overall, the AFC said that it does not see these amendments as a “genuine, honest response to the problems which exist and ought to be cured”. In fact, it sees these amendments as a platform for the PPP to take off in a full course of gerrymandering of District 4 to its advantage.

Indeed, one of the proposed changes includes the splitting of the district, which is traditionally a stronghold of the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC).

The AFC is suggesting a restart of the consultative process with all participants and stakeholders playing a role and having their say from a drafting stage to completion stage with the help from experts who should be hired by the Law Reform Commission or can be from international/regional centres.


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