The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has dispatched to all registered political parties the names of all eligible electors who were registered subsequent to the enactment of the National Registration (Amendment) Act 2011, Act No. 16 of 2011.
An initial list was sent with a covering letter dated Wednesday, August 17, 2011, GECOM stated in press release yesterday.
It noted that the action of GECOM Chairman Dr. Steve Surujbally in dispatching the list was in compliance with Clause 14(2) of the National Registration (Amendment) Act 2011, Act No. 16 of 2011, which requires that, “The Commissioner shall make available to all registered Political Parties the names of all eligible Electors registered subsequent to the enactment of this amendment.”
In the letter, Dr. Surujbally explained that the enclosed electronic document contained the names of persons who have applied for registration after the enactment of the Amendment.
He noted, the release said, that the procedure to establish which of the persons included in the list who were eligible for registration was, at that point in time, still in progress, since the Fingerprint Cross Matching exercise was currently being conducted and the consequential analyses pertaining thereto had yet to be carried out.
Further, he pointed out that the final list of names, in compliance with the legislation, can only be issued after the eligibility of the applicants has been formally established.
Dr. Surujbally emphasized that the list of names represents the persons who have applied for registration, and is therefore provisional.
He also gave the assurance that GECOM will provide further notification as soon as the eligibility of the applicants has been ascertained.
Meanwhile, on August 18 the GECOM Chairman received a letter of the same date from General Secretary of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Oscar Clarke acknowledging that the information provided by GECOM “may” be in conformity with the law, but the party could not use the data without the respective addresses.
Consequently, Dr. Surujbally replied in a letter dated August 19 wherein he reminded that he had pointed out that the list which he had dispatched on August 17 was preliminary.
Further, a CD with the Alpha List of New Registrants from Phase 2 of the Claims and Objections exercise, and containing the relevant address fields accompanied GECOM’s letter of August 19. This CD was also sent simultaneously to all of the other parliamentary political parties.
It was quite inexplicable therefore, the release noted, to be informed via the media (e.g. Stabroek News on August 20, 2011 and Guyana Times on August 22, 2011) that: (i) the PNCR was accusing GECOM of being reluctant to provide Opposition Parties with full particulars of applicants for registration in the recently-concluded phase 2 of Claims and Objections; and (ii) that the Party was concluding that the Chairman and the CEO of GECOM did not feel obligated to respond positively to the legitimate requests of the PNCR and other opposition parties.
GECOM declared that “as can be seen from the above, nothing could be further from the truth.”
Finally, GECOM assured that the Chairman, the Chief Election Officer and every member of the senior staff of the Secretariat “are fully aware of their statutory and administrative responsibilities and will always strive to honour their duties without fear, favour or bias,” the release concluded.