Linden youth call for house-to-house registration
─ peacefully picketed GECOM Office
─ claim old list bloated with dead voters
─ youth must be registered and given a chance to vote
DPI, Guyana, Friday, February 8, 2019
Lindeners on Thursday came out in a peaceful demonstration, in front of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Office on Republic Avenue, Linden, expressing the need for house-to-house registration, before any Regional and General elections can be called.
Led by Member of Parliament, Jermaine Figueira, they chanted, ‘No, Registration, No Elections’ and ‘Give the youth a chance to vote’, while capturing the attention of passers-by, who also expressed similar sentiments.
The picketers expressed the view that the old voters’ list currently needs to be rid of deceased persons whose names are still listed. More importantly, they noted that youth who are now eligible to vote, cannot do so since they have not been documented through house-to-house registration. They deemed this to be unfair and amounted to voter suppression.
Figueira said they support the government’s position that elections must be held in the proper manner. “The position that GECOM must hold house-to-house registration is a position that we in Region Ten strongly support because young persons’ names, in particular, are not yet on that voters’ list and more so persons who are deceased are still appearing on the list.”
The MP added that the 2019 budget had catered for house-to-house registration and when it was tabled in the National Assembly. He noted too, that at the time there was no objection by the opposition and questioned their sudden rejection, which he described is most unbecoming and irresponsible.
Lindener, Noel Perry said that it is imperative that a clean list be compiled before elections is called. “People die, people are just out of school, and people would like to know that the list is put together the right way before elections are called, so matters-not-what the opposition is saying, we are holding out, saying, correct it, before any election.”
Another picketer, Anthony Robert said that the call for a thorough census to be done is far from the accusation that the government is not upholding the Constitution. “I think we should allow GECOM to do the proper work and then we will hold the elections whenever the time arises, and I believe the best time is 2020,” he said.
One youth, Dwight Bennett, who has reached eligibility status said that he has perused the list in his constituency and his name is not on the list. He firmly believes he has a right to vote at the next election. “I think youth should vote because we need more opportunities and I want my voice to be heard. Also, at the last election, youth came out and voted like a boss, to put the government in power, so we need to do the same again,” he said.
The demonstrators joined hundreds of citizens across the country who also picketed GECOM offices yesterday, in a bid to enforce the principle that accurate, free and fear elections can only be held if house-to-house registration is carried out.
Story and Images: Vanessa Braithwaite.