‘The current cycle of continuous registration is ridiculously inefficient’
On Sunday, June 10, I took my two children, aged 16 and 14, to be registered at GECOM’s Registration Centre at Diamond, EBD. We arrived there at 12:03hrs and joined a line of about twenty people outside, with a further dozen or so already inside the office.
Needless to say, it was a very hot day, and the sun was merciless. After two and a half hours with very little progress, the mood of those assembled deteriorated – and was not helped by the spectacle of the two female guards on duty there having a good old “buse-out.”
It took a GECOM officer a little over half an hour to process each applicant. I am not estimating this; I timed it, for a number of persons. There were three and sometimes four officers processing applicants. Anyone can figure, therefore, that they were processing less than eight applicants per hour, at best.
My two children entered the office just after 16:00hrs – four hours after our arrival. After the usual chair-hopping exercise beloved of government offices nationwide, my daughter was summoned by an officer at 17:28hrs and my son (hot on her heels) by another officer at 17:34hrs. Some writing, questioning, and scrutineering later, they were handed their pink copies of the application form at 18:06 and 18:02hrs respectively. I must point out here that they had already been photographed and their heights measured during their wait inside the office, so the timed period does not include those actions.
This is nonsense. Six hours? How can this be justified? The Guyana Elections Commission’s blandishments about parental duty and legal requirements aside, who can possibly argue that this was a well-spent Sunday afternoon? The people who were actually registered at that centre on Sunday 10th probably comprise half of those who turned up for that purpose, as many people left in frustration.
And that isn’t all! GECOM officers are still to visit each child at home to verify that they live at their stated address. So we must now bend our schedules to ensure that we are at home at the appointed time and date. Can all of this be worth whatever the perceived end result is supposed to be?
How and why should it take half an hour to copy information from a birth certificate, note height and eye colour, and take an address and a signature? The “current cycle of continuous registration” is ridiculously inefficient.