GECOM begins preparations for 2022 LGE

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has begun preparations for the hosting of Local Government Elections (LGE) this year.         

Some $4.1 billion has been allocated in this year’s budget for GECOM. From that amount $783 million will go towards the hosting of the elections, from which sums will cover security, equipment maintenance, procurement of containers, and storage of sensitive election materials.

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira, MP

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira, M.P., told the National Assembly, on Monday, that while there is no fixed date for the polls, the agency has begun the much-needed preparations.                                                                                                                   

“GECOM has stated that they are making a roadmap (with) which they will go to the commission and the commission will make a determination of when they are going to be ready to commence, and obviously then inform the President of their readiness.”

She added that based on “meetings with GECOM, as well as the press reports that they have not reached that stage to say what quarter of the year that they are willing to commence.”

Regarding a new voters’ list, Minister Teixeira stated there have been no attempts to “scrap” the registrar of registrants; however, money is available for such if the need arises.

“This is not a budgetary issue, but it is an issue that the commission and chairman have to make a decision on and if they so desire then budgetary matters will fall into place however at this point, there is no decision by the commission to have as the opposition is say a new voters’ list,” she said.

The minister reiterated that once the date for LGE is announced, “the processes of claims and objections and continued registrations will commence.”

She further added that, “they (GECOM) cannot budget for that because no decision has been made in the kind of details that the honourable member (Patterson) wants. What they have done is budget for the current normal situations with continued registrations.”

Government has always been committed to the hosting of LGE, however, after the five-month impasse which followed the March 2, 2020 General and Regional elections, the administration sought to ensure proper systems were in place before any new elections were called.

The period was characterised by multiple unlawful elections declarations, lengthy court battles and repeated attacks on the integrity of the electoral process.

In August 2020, the Guyana Police Force launched an investigation into the role of Deputy Chief Election Officer of GECOM, Ms. Roxanne Myers, Chief Election Officer, Mr. Keith Lowenfield, and Returning Officer of Region Four, Mr. Clairmont Mingo, during the protracted period following the March 2, General and Regional Elections.

Those individuals have since been removed from the elections body and a new CEO has been appointed.