Pressure mounts for GECOM to execute house-to-house registration

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─ youth must be given a chance to vote

─ list must be sanitised

DPI, Guyana, Monday, February 11, 2019

Pressure is being mounted on the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to carry out house-to-house registration before calling General and Regional Elections.

Residents on the West Bank of Demerara held a peaceful protest outside GECOM’s regional office in Pouderoyen. They were adamant in their calls for house-to-house registration before facilitating any form of elections.

Most notable amongst these calls was the chant “Give the youth a chance to vote”. This is in light of the fact that since the last house-to-house registration conducted by GECOM, several young people are now eligible to vote but may not have been registered.

In an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI), PNCR Regional Chairperson Thandi McAllister stressed the importance of the sanitisation of the electoral list.

“We are out here today because we want to send a strong message to GECOM that we will not compromise on the fundamentals… and the electoral list is fundamental to the democratic process that we call General and Regional Elections.  Unless the list is sanitised, then the people of this country will be disenfranchised, and we cannot afford that,” Mc Allister said.

She threw her full support behind ensuring the rights of youth, who have since become eligible to vote but are not on the electoral list. “We have persons who just turned 18; persons who will soon turn 18, who must have the opportunity to exercise that democratic right, it is their right, and I think it would be an absurdity for us to go into these elections without giving our youths a chance to vote.”

Central Executive Member of PNCR Region Three, Ganesh Mahipaul was also present at the picketing exercise. He said that his party remains firm that the list must be sanitised and updated given the number of years since the last house-to-house registration exercise was conducted.

Meanwhile, in Lethem in Region Nine, District Chairman of the APNU, Carlton Beckles led a similar picketing exercise. Beckles strongly opined that the voters’ list has been contaminated. He said this became evident following the last local government elections.

“I would have found that, in constituency two, there were 306 persons registered to vote to an open address” …” the list is contaminated, and we are here this morning to voice our concerns,” the District Chairman said.

A picketing exercise was also held in the Region 7 community of Bartica. This was led by Mayor Gifford Marshall and several young people. Monday’s action taken in Regions Three, 7 and 9 is the continuation of protests around the country by supporters of the government calling for house-to-house registration.

Nikosi Bruce.

Images: Leon Leung and Tejpaul Bridgemohan.