Clean voters’ list key to free and fair elections

─Youths continue call for house-to-house registration to begin

DPI, Guyana, Monday, June 24, 2019

As the Caribbean Court of Justice heard oral submissions on the consequential orders of their June eighteen ruling today, youths are continuing their calls for the start of house-to-house registration.

Fair elections

Odel Briggs is a student at the Government Technical Institute (GTI) and a prospective first-time voter who turns 18 years old in August. The young man shared his thoughts on the fairness of the electoral process. “Elections should be fair in that everyone – alive and eligible – is given the opportunity to vote.”

Commenting on the same topic, another GTI student Mark Wong told the Department of Public Information, “most definitely elections should be fair and everyone should get a chance to vote.”

Meanwhile, sales representative at the Giftland Mall, Alicia Lallchan offered her view on the issue of electoral fairness. “I think that elections should be fair because as Guyanese we should be afforded with the right to vote for who we think is more capable to run our country,” the young woman stated,

Electoral Disenfranchisement

Electoral disenfranchisement was also a topical issue for the young people. There was a resounding disdain towards any attempt to stifle their democratic right to vote. Odel Briggs passionately remarked, “I won’t like if anyone denies me my right to vote. Because, they say everybody has the right to vote, correct? Then, if I like a party, I would like to be able to vote for that party.”

Likewise, Alicia echoed Odel’s sentiment. “I think it would be really unfair [to have my voting rights denied] and they should have house-to-house registration so that everyone would be given their opportunity to vote.” Along a similar line of reasoning, Mark Wong related, “I feel like it very unfair to individuals who can’t cast their vote this year because everyone should be free to exercise their rights.”

Call for new Official List of Electors (OLE)

As it stands, the OLE is expired as of April 30, 2019, thus, there are widespread calls for the list to be updated through house-to-house registration. The young people unanimously said they all supported the call for a new list of electors.

A hopeful first-time voter and student of the University of Guyana, Randy Rambarran mentioned, “I would support a new list because myself and others will be on that list and would get to vote,” while Mark Wong conveyed, “most definitely I would support [a new list] because I would like to exercise my right to vote in order to make this country a better place.” Odell told DPI, “I would support it yes, if the new list allows the thousands of people that aren’t on the now – if it ensures that they can cast their vote, then yes I would support a new list.” Alicia stated, “I don’t think that they should use a list that is already expired […] there must be a new list.”

Last Tuesday, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruled that the vote of December 21 was properly passed. Thus, there has been increased calls for elections to be held. However, there has also been widespread calls for house-to-house registration to be held; something that GECOM is preparing to conduct.

Since the current Official List of Electors (OLE), commonly referred to as the voters’ list, has been expired, the main Parliamentary Opposition party has been calling for the now discredited list to be used.  However, President David Granger has been resolute in his decision for there to be a clean voters’ list before General and Regional elections are held.

Images: Karime Peters

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