Publication of the Registers of Voters for LGE is NOT Overdue

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has taken note of the disinformation that have been propagated by small groups of placard-bearing persons who were protesting in front of a few of the Registration Offices of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) on Monday, November 21, 2022. The wording of some of the placards displayed grossly inaccurate information, for example, “GECOM it’s long overdue”, “21 days and still no OLV List,” “GECOM stop the nonsense and clean the list,” “21 days to Nomination Day, where is the OLV,” “We need sanitized voters list” and, “clean the voter’s list”.

With specific reference to “OLV” as written on the placards, it is assumed that this is the acronym for ‘Official List of Voters’ for Local Government Elections, which is, according to the statutory description is really the Registers of Voters (RoVs). Members of he public could easily form the impression that the RoVs are overdue having read the placards which proclaim “GECOM it’s long overdue”, “21 days and still no OLV List.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

GECOM has posted the Revised List of Electors (RLE), in the public domain for scrutiny in compliance with the Regulation which mandates that this be done for the statutorily required twenty-one (21) days w.e.f. November 4, 2022.   Posting of the RLE precedes extraction of lists of electors for Local Government Elections.

GECOM’s Secretariat is currently implementing the tasks delineated sequentially in its Work Plan for the conduct of Local Government Elections (LGE) which is scheduled to be held on 13th March, 2023. Section 23(4) of the Local Authorities (Elections) Act, Chapter 28:03 stipulates that “the register of voters for the local authority area shall come into force at such time as shall be prescribed by the Elections Commission by notice published in the Gazette and shall be open for inspection at all reasonable times at the offices of the local authority, and copies thereof shall be printed.” The date earmarked for the extraction of the RoVs is November 26, 2022 i.e. two days after the end of the period of display of the RLE.  This will be followed by printing and distribution of the Registers to Returning Officers so that they could be opened for inspection by members of the public as is statutorily required. Opening of the Registers for public scrutiny is scheduled in the work Plan to commence on December 1, 2022.  It is, therefore, wholly misleading for any person or organization to perpetuate the disinformation that the publication of the RoVs is overdue.

On the matter of the calls for a “sanitized voters’ list”, it is imperative that we reiterate GECOM’s operations continue to be guided by the applicable Constitutional and legal provisions. In this regard, it is obligatory for us to repeat that the eligibility requirement for registration is that one must be a Guyanese citizen by birth, descent, or naturalization; or a citizen of a Commonwealth country living in Guyana for one year or more. Providing persons met those requirements and have been registered, their registration in the National Register of Registrants (NRR) is and remains legitimate. Accordingly, any removal of their names from the NRR, without legal basis, would be unlawful and unconstitutional.

Existing legislation provides that the removal of names from the NRR can be done  only through the established methodology comprising (i) the receipt of monthly death reports from the General Registers Office (GRO) and (ii) through the Objections aspect of any Claims and Objections exercise, which allows for any elector, or suitably accredited Scrutineers of Political Parties, to object to the inclusion of the names in the Preliminary List of Electors (PLE) who may not be eligible inclusion.

In view of the foregoing, the Commission calls upon all concerned persons/organisations to desist from peddling misinformation and disinformation, as this could seriously impact citizen’s participation at the upcoming Local Government Elections.

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