The National Registration (Amendment) Act No. 26 of 2022, which was assented to on December 13, 2022, has paved the way for registration transactions to be facilitated on a continuous basis by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
Previously, eligible persons could only have applied for new registration and changes or corrections to their particulars during specific periods determined by GECOM. However, with the amendments to National Registration Act, Chapter 19:08, GECOM is now mandated to facilitate registration transactions throughout the year with two breaks to facilitate the publication and finalization of a valid Official List of Electors (OLE).
As such, any eligible person can now conduct registration transactions between the periods January to May, provided that they will be 14 years and older by the 30th of June, or during the period of July to November, provided that they will be 14 years and older by the 31st December of the given year.
Persons are reminded that they must be Guyanese citizens by birth, descent, registration or naturalization, or citizens from a Commonwealth country living in Guyana for one year or more, to apply for registration, provided that they were never registered.
Existing registrants, who are desirous of updating their records to correct or change their names, date of birth, occupation or to update their addresses, are advised that those transactions would also be facilitated continuously during the periods outlined above.
In view of the foregoing and in compliance with the amendment to the National Registration Act, the Commission is currently facilitating registration transactions at all its Registration Offices countrywide with effect from January 3, 2023, to May 31, 2023.
Further, it is of crucial importance to note that the amendments to the Act have also outlined stiffer penalties for registration offences, with provision for fines of up to five million dollars ($5,000,000) and imprisonment for as many as five (5) years. Registration offences addressed in the Act include:
1) Deliberately providing false information;
2) Fraudulently obtaining an identification card;
3) Fraudulently using an identification card;
4) Falsely alleging the loss or destruction of their identification card and applying for a new one while in the possession of an identification card;
5) Presenting false information or documents containing false information for registration or withholding information about an existing registration;
6) Knowingly applying to be registered more than once;
7) Permitting or inducing another person to use an identification card in order to impersonate a registered person;
8) Destroying or defacing identification cards or documents;
9) Making false objections or statements in relation to any entry on a list;
10) Impersonating GECOM registration officials;
11) Forging or counterfeiting identification cards, and lending or otherwise furnishing any identification card for impersonation;
12) Selling or attempting to sell, or purchase or attempting to purchase an identification card.
In this regard, the commission is encouraging persons to ensure that they conduct their transactions in a timely manner, abide by the legal registration provisions and be cognizant of these amendments to the Act that could have serious consequences. The amended Act can be accessed on GECOM’s website at www.gecom.org.gy for further information and perusal.