While the British High Commissioner, Jane Miller has a right to make pronouncements, it is the people who must decide whether the “bloated” voters’ list can be used at an election, says Guyana’s Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton.
The Member of Parliament (MP)’s comment comes against the backdrop of a widening rift between the opposition and the government on the use of the controversial list at the Local Government Election next year.
The government says that names cannot be removed by methods not prescribed by the Constitution, while the Opposition remains unwavering in its view that the list is padded and must be cleansed before the upcoming poll. It has threatened to pull out from the process if its demands, including the introduction of biometrics, are not met.
The rift widened when Ambassador Miller was quoted by the Demerara Waves, an online media house, as saying that the list, with the addition of safeguards, can still be used. The government has found favour with the envoy’s comment, with many of its social media accounts sharing the article with his followers over the weekend.
But the Opposition Leader has opined that it is the people, not the Ambassador who must decide on the way forward.
“While we pursue good relations with all countries, we are committed to ensuring our decisions are made by the people of Guyana and therefore we abhor the attempt by any diplomat to impose their will on the people of Guyana. The Guyanese people have long concluded that the present voters’ list is bloated and therefore we need no one to tell us that with safeguards, the list can be used,” Norton said during a press conference this morning.
Norton said that what is more worrying is that the British High Commissioner’s comment came after his party met with plenipotentiaries of the ABCE (USA, UK, Canada, and European Union) countries to inform them of the “reality” surrounding the list.
He said that Miller’s comment contradicts the calls made by international observers during the March 2020 General and Regional Elections for a “clean” list. He noted that the UK would never use a voters’ list that comprises over 90 per cent of its population at an election, and the same must be expected of Guyana.