Guyanese are too tired and cannot be held hostage

first_imgDear Editor,The coalition Government has once again shown its total disregard and insensitivity for the hard-earned taxpayers’ dollars of the Guyanese people. It matters little that value for money is sacrificed for political expedience and the usual few getting filthy rich in the process.This caretaker Government made a huge ‘investment’ in the H2H Registration – its bid to remain in power. In November last year, the Committee of Supply of the National Assembly approved $5.4 billion dollars for the Guyana Elections Commission. The Opposition had proposed after the successful passing of the NCM that GECOM utilise the $3 billion intended for National Registration for the holding of elections, but this never materialised.The Finance Minister, Mr Jordan, had said that “the sum of $5,371,061,000 is given a lump sum to GECOM to use as it sees fit and as it prioritises” and the coalition made full use of this offer. The CCJ ruling would have negated the H2H Registration in keeping with the 3-month timeline as stipulated by Article 106 but GECOM saw this as a priority to execute the will of the coalition.The unilateral and legally flawed appointment of Mr Patterson bore dividends on June 11, 2019, days before the CCJ’s rulings on June 18. The GECOM Chairman, Mr Patterson, used his casting vote to initiate the House-to-House Registration which was scheduled to begin on July 20 and end on October 20, 2019. The Order for Registration was signed by Patterson June 11 and was a well-guarded secret since the conspiracy with the coalition to delay the elections as long as possible to pad the electoral list was the decisive factor. The Order came into effect as planned but without the legally required scrutineers from the PPP/C, hence those who would have registered lacked verification. The PPP/C was not even invited to supervise the registration process. This again smacks of collusion between GECOM and the coalition. Hence the entire House-to-House Registration was a farce enacted for the benefit of the coalition to pad the list with foreign nationals. This H2H should have been aborted since the GECOM Chairperson held her first statutory meeting.The GECOM Chairperson, even after the court ruling by Chief Justice Roxane George that the H2H is not unconstitutional but recommended GECOM considers other forms of verification, should have halted the H2H Registration immediately instead of allowing it to continue until August 31. This has allowed GECOM to accelerate the process by working longer hours, again fulfilling the expectations of the coalition. Why is it that that the process was allowed to continue when it became clear that the existing NRR will not be invalidated and that there will be an “extensive” Claims and Objections period which would have captured those persons not on the list? The only reasonable conclusion is to afford the coalition ample time to get these foreigners with fake ID cards and birth certificates to get on the list.Furthermore, the decision to “merge” the data from the H2H Registration with the NRR is again affording the coalition more delaying time since this will take an unduly long time which will again violate the CCJ’s rulings and the Constitution. The data should have been scrapped on August 27 and the Claims and Objections period brought into immediate effect to afford elections within a “reasonable” timeline. This decision to allow the H2H to continue until month-end and to use the unverified data in a “merging” process is a very poor one and a decision which this country can ill-afford at this time bearing in mind that a successful NCM against this coalition was passed since December 21, 2018, and further ratified by the CCJ since June 18 this year. The GECOM Chair is cognisant of this fact, yet failed to rule accordingly. This is not upholding the rule of law and the Constitution and enabling free, fair and transparent elections as promised! ‘Compromise’ cannot be used to cure a violation of the Constitution and justice cannot be adulterated with even an iota of illegality!At this point, some lingering and pertinent questions need to be answered: What is the number of new registrants who are above the age of eighteen? We must take into consideration that the list expired on April 30 this year and persons attaining the age of eighteen would automatically be on that list. Any extraordinarily significant number of new registrants appearing will give credence to the padding suspicions which are already abounding. Why is it that these unverified registrations should be on the Official List of Electors? We must consider that the “extended” Claims and Objections period can take care of those not on the existing NRR. Will this “merging” plus the “extended” Claims and Objections period not take the election into 2020 and so violate the Constitution?The GECOM Chairperson, Justice (ret’d) Claudette Singh must scrap this new H2H data and embark on the Claims and Objections period to sanitise the list and afford Guyanese not only a free, fair and transparent election but a timely one as well. Guyanese are too tired and cannot be held hostage to this deliberate political malingering which has become unbearably ridiculous and extremely absurd given that more than eight months have elapsed since the successful passing of the NCM.Yours sincerely,Haseef Yusuflast_img read more

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