House-to-House registration will not disenfranchise overseas based Guyanese – Minister Harmon

DPI, Guyana, Friday, March 29, 2019

Minister of State Joseph Harmon today dismissed claims that Guyanese citizens who are resident overseas, could be disenfranchised during the Guyana Election Commission’s (GECOM) house-to-house registration.

Addressing the media at his post-Cabinet press briefing today, Minister Harmon said if a person residing overseas is not present in Guyana when the enumerators visit their home, then they cannot be considered to be on the list of electors.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon.

“It is not a matter of disenfranchising anyone. The overseas-based Guyanese cannot be registered if they are not home at the time.

He clarified that Guyana’s laws do not provide for overseas voting except for persons who are in the employ of the state, working in the embassy abroad.

“So, persons who are Guyanese resident abroad at the time of the house-to-house registration, if you are not there, then certainly your name cannot be on the list. That is why house-to-house registration is so important”

The Parliamentary opposition claimed today that the exercise by the elections body would affect the registration of Guyanese living overseas who would want to vote in the General and Regional Elections.

The Guyana Elections Commission has already indicated that it is preparing to carry out House to House registration and has requested $3.5 Billion for this purpose.

President David Granger said on Wednesday that funding for the National Elections is a priority for the government’s parliamentary agenda. He said regardless of what happens at the Caribbean Court of Justice, the government will ensure that we GECOM’s request is satisfied.

In the 2019 National Budget, GECOM was allocated in excess of $3Billion for house-to-house registration, but none for National elections which is constitutionally due in 2020.

Alexis Rodney.

Image: The Department of Public Information.