Gecom extends claims and objects period

The Guyana Elections Commission (Gecom) has granted a one-week extension of the period for claims and objections, which was requested by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP).

“Yes it has been extended… by seven days,” Deputy Chief Elections Officer Vishnu Persaud told Stabroek News yesterday when asked if the PPP’s request had been considered.

The old deadline for claims and objections was tomorrow.

Up to late yesterday afternoon, PPP General Secretary Clement Rohee said that he had not received any official confirmation from Gecom on the extension and as a result could not comment.

However, main opposition A Partnership for National Unity said yesterday, before knowing that the deadline was extended, that while it was considering supporting the call by the PPP, it had asked members in varying regions for an analysis.

“We do not know the motivation for such a call. We have examined the PPP’s statement and we are consulting our own people in the regions to find out if there is any justification,” APNU leader David Granger said at a news conference.

APNU executive Winston Felix added that he believed that the move to have an extension was a party solidification strategy by the PPP and he did not feel the request should be granted.

Asked about the PPP’s questioning of the 78,000 new registrants, Felix brushed off the concerns, saying that substantial proof was needed to substantiate the PPP’s claim of “padding,” which he dubbed a distraction to Gecom’s process. “That’s a PPP position. I am saying to you, once again, the PPP has put out a position with an apparent motive behind it, to derail the current process to get things in their favour,” he said. “I don’t see how you can have 78,000… the PPP must justify to me that there are indeed that amount of persons. To pad a list by 78,000 where there are scrutineers, I am sure the PPP would be hard put to explain to me how all these scrutineers missed people in that number,” he added.

The PPP had said on Thursday that the party did not believe that the current period for claims and objections to the preliminary voters’ list was sufficient and had written to Gecom asking for the one –week extension.

“The PPP is convinced that an extension at this critical time is necessary to ensure most if not all eligible Guyanese are on the List and not disenfranchised whenever elections are called,” a statement from the party had said.

Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr. Roger Luncheon on Thursday had also echoed his party’s stance on having the claims and objections period extended due to its concerns.

“…These deal primarily with transfers and the volume of transfers, for which we harbour a fear that they will not be dealt with properly in this short period that remain. I suspect that the request may very well be associated with a minimum of one to two weeks’ timeframe,” Luncheon had said.

He said too that at this week’s Cabinet meeting the focus was heavy on the electoral process and concerns about Gecom’s preparedness was discussed.

According to the PPP’s statement, the party was dissatisfied with Gecom’s notification process in informing residents of mobile units, the selection of convenient days and times to accommodate residents and the meagre time spent in hinterland and riverain communities.

“The PPP has received valuable information from our extensive field work countrywide which proves there are many persons who are still to effect transfer of their particulars from one list to another, especially in New Housing Schemes,” the statement says.

“Time and again the Party had engaged Gecom to conduct mobile registration in these schemes as well as hinterland and riverain communities; even though some amount of work was done,” it adds.

The statement said that the PPP had made representations for the over 8,000 persons that were still to take transfers at the end of the last continuous registration period. However, ground work has shown there is still a significant amount of persons to make claims and objections.

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