AFC, GAP-ROAR want share of resources for scrutineers

The AFC and GAP-ROAR are arguing for proportionality in resources for registration scrutineers on the basis of the percentage of seats they have in Parliament and want the elections commission to allocate their share directly rather than through the main opposition PNCR-1G.

In a release, the AFC said it also welcomes the acknowledgement by PNCR leader Robert Corbin at the party’s October 11, 2007 press conference that scrutineers of the other combined opposition parties be remunerated on a pro rata basis as that is the only just thing to do in the circumstances.

The AFC according to its release is requesting 21 per cent of the opposition re-sources based on its strength in parliament and is “urging GECOM that 21% of the amount allocated to the combined opposition be given to it directly, and not through the PNCR.”

The AFC said that GECOM’s recent statements confused the matter of how it should deal with the allocation of finances to pay for scrutineering activities, as against the issue of the appointment of scrutineers.

The release said that indeed GECOM has no authority to appoint scrutineers for the various political parties who wish to participate in the scrutineering activities of the new house-to-house registration exercise but on the issue of remuneration to the various parties which will participate in the exercise, the AFC “strongly feels that GECOM has the mandate and authority to so deal with.”

Among the many matters that section 8(1) of the Election Laws (Amendment) Act No 15 of 2000 speaks of is the remuneration of scrutineers, the AFC said, adding that the section explicitly states that one scrutineer in each registration division appointed by the majority party (in this case the PPP/C), and one scrutineer appointed by the combined minority parties in the National Assembly, shall be paid such remuneration by, and as may be determined by, the Commission.

The party said that the practical application of this means that whatever parliament will allocate for scrutineers, a sum of several million dollars from all indications, must firstly be divided equally by GECOM between the PPP/C on the one hand, and the combined minority parties in Parliament, on the other.

Questioning what was wrong with GECOM adopting the proportionality principle as one of its policies as recommended by the AFC, the release said that “After all, the Constitution makes provision in articles 161 B and 162 for exactly these matters when mention is made therein that GECOM and its party nominees must participate ‘in determining policy’, and must take action ‘as appear to it necessary to ensure impartiality, fairness and compliance’ with our election laws.”

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