While the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) hinges participation at an upcoming local government poll on its demand for a refreshed voters’ list, it is also cognisant that its nonparticipation could potentially lead to a government “takeover” of opposition strongholds. This is the quandary in which the party finds itself, as its members gear up to meet next Monday to chart a way forward.
“We cannot, at this stage, afford to allow the People’s Progressive Party – which does not subscribe to democracy – which will have no moral compunction, who will not care – to proceed and dominate and do what they want to do. And so, we have to take those variables [into account],” the APNU’s Leader, Aubrey Norton, said last evening during an interview on “Politics 101”, hosted by Political Activist and Executive Member of the APNU-aligned Working People’s Alliance (WPA), Dr David Hinds.
Norton said that both “variables” must be examined carefully before a decision is made on the way forward. He added that any position taken will result in backlash, but cautioned that decisions of this nature cannot be based on emotion.
“The same people who are saying ‘don’t go into the election’ are the same people who will turn around and say, ‘yuh mek they tek over all we strongholds’. As the leader of the party, I have to make sensible decisions. I cannot operate based on emotions.”
The APNU and its coalition partner, the Alliance for Change (AFC) have yet to state definitively what role, shape or form it will adopt at the Local Government Election (LGE) set for March 13, 2023. Both parties have since upped calls for the data to be refreshed, noting that no credible election can come from a list, that they claim, has in excess of 200,000 persons who are either dead or out of the jurisdiction.
The coalition has gotten no reprieve from the electoral machinery, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) or the government, with the latter declaring the claims and objection period and continuous registration as the appropriate built-in mechanisms aimed at cleaning the list.
The government has also argued that names cannot be arbitrarily removed from the National Register of Registrants Database (NRRDB) by procedures not provided for in the constitution. The NRRDB is the repository from which the voters’ list is generated.