GECOM to decide on its readiness for an election – Minister Harmon
─ Chief Elections Officer to present possible option for elections
─ meeting to be held tomorrow
─ date to meet with chief whips depends on outcome of deliberations
DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, January 23, 2019
The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) will have to make a decision on its readiness to host an election this year should there be need for one. This is according to the Minister of State Joseph Harmon.
The Minister was at the time responding to questions following a site visit to the Arthur Chung Conference Centre where the Seventeenth Session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (CRIC 17) will be hosted.
He said that while political parties may have concerns about the voters’ list, the authoritative statement will have to come from GECOM.
“There is a whole process that leads to the production of the list of electors for an election and that process requires registration, it requires claims and objections and all of these issues are dealt with in that process.”
The Minister further stressed that “at an individual level or a political party’s level, I believe we can have experiences which say from what we have been told by our membership of our parties, we believe that there are some issues to the list, but it is ultimately GECOM that has to make a definitive statement on the matter.”
Meanwhile in an invited comment, Public Relations Officer of the Guyana Elections Commissions, Yolanda Ward, said based on the deliberations tomorrow, a date will be set for the commission to meet with Government’s Chief Whip, Minister of Social Protection Amna Ally and Opposition’s Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira to discuss its readiness for possible elections.
Ward said at the statutory meeting held on Tuesday, “the commission requested from the Chief Elections Officer (CEO), possible options as to when elections can be held.” She noted that the CEO is in the process of compiling that report which will be presented to the commission on Thursday for deliberations.
After a decision is made, “the Chief Whips will be notified when will be the appropriate time to meet.”
During an interview with DPI, Government Chief Whip, Minister Ally said she will be entering the discussion with an open mind. She emphasised the necessity to be fully briefed on the preparedness of the commission to host an election.
Minister Ally said, “Whether we are to have elections within 90 days, whether we are going to have elections after. I cannot anticipate them. Whatever the commission tells us, then we are going to be in a position to brief our principal on the status quo of GECOM in terms of preparedness for the elections” the minister stated.
Following a meeting between President David Granger and Leader of the Opposition, Bharat Jagdeo on January 9, to discuss the way forward given the December 21 vote, it was agreed to by both parties that the government Chief Whip Minister Amna Ally and Opposition Chief Whip, Gale Teixeira will meet with GECOM to determine its state of readiness for elections.
Isaiah Braithwaite and Anara Khan.
Image: Keno George.