The Guyana Elections Commis-sion (GECOM) yesterday said it was in receipt of reports from Region 1 (Barima-Waini) that persons, claiming to be employees of GECOM, have been visiting homes with copies of extracts of the current Preliminary List of Electors (PLE) to check, and advise residents, on their registration status.
GECOM in a statement said that its investigations have revealed that the persons engaged in this activity are alleged “Community Support Officers” in Mabaruma and Port Kaituma. GECOM’s investigations have also shown that the persons have in their possession a copy of a letter purportedly written by the Regional Executive Officer of the Region authorizing them to engage in the aforesaid activity.
“In view of the foregoing, we hereby note emphatically that no GECOM staff is engaged in any such activity in Region 1 or any other Region”, the statement said.
The statement added that GECOM staff members are authorized to embark on mobile exercises to offer opportunities for eligible persons in remote communities to conduct transactions relative to the ongoing Claims and Objections exercise.
“All such activities are adequately announced within the respective communities prior to the visits.
Further, we take this opportunity to make it abundantly clear that all of GECOM’s employees working in the field wear, and are identifiable by, certified identification badges at all times during working hours. They are accompanied by duly accredited and adequately identifiable Scrutineers representing the Parliamentary Political Parties”, the statement said.
Community Support Officers (CSOs) were hired by the government in various hinterland regions to undertake projects which have raised skepticism in Parliament and elsewhere. Funding for this programme was not approved by the opposition majority in this year’s budget. It appears however that the CSOs are continuing to function.
Last evening the People’s National Congress Reform added its concerns over the CSOs
The party said in a statement that it is aware that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic is using ‘so called’ Community Support Officers to do political work in the Barima- Waini Region. It charged that the CSO’s who it says are paid by the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs are masquerading as officers of GECOM. It charged that the CSOs are engaged in illegal campaign activity on behalf of the PPP/C.