Gov’t to fast-track amendment for new registration

The government will today table the National Registration (Amendment) Bill 2011 in the National Assembly, which will facilitate a new round of Claims and Objections  to the preliminary voters list.

Prime Minister Sam Hinds is expected to move a motion to suspend Standing Order No.54 to enable the Assembly to take the bill through all its stages at today’s sitting, in order to expedite its enactment.

On Monday, Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Dr Steve Surujbally, during a press briefing, announced that a new round of Claims and Objections would be held to facilitate the registration of persons who were previously unable to register. It was said then that an amendment would have to be made to the National Registration Act, in order to facilitate the reopening of the exercise. The exercise is expected to commence on Monday and is scheduled to last for 13 days, with the Claims aspect running for 10 days.

The decision was made following a 3-2 vote by GECOM commissioners; two government-nominated members of the commission, Dr Keshav Mangal and Mahmood Shaw, along with one opposition-nominated member, Robert Williams, voted to hold the new exercise. The two other opposition-nominated members, Vincent Alexander and Charles Corbin, were against it.

While, Surujbally said elections could be held in November, well before the constitutional deadline of December 28, 2011, Alexander warned that the decision could end up paving the way for an election postponement. According to him there were “tremendous bureaucratic hurdles to be crossed in realising the elections in a timely manner.”

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