The Guyana Elections Commission (Gecom) is bound by the legal procedures guiding the removal of any name from the Preliminary List of Electors (PLE) or the National Register or Registrants (NRR), according to Deputy Chief Election Officer Vishnu Persaud, who says the body is confident about the accuracy of the list.
Persaud, who is also the acting Public Relations Officer of GECOM, told Stabroek News that the General Register Office would notify Gecom of any deaths. Those names would be “flagged as dead” on the NRR and when the PLE was being compiled those names would be extracted. He noted that the Commission had approved such a procedure that would only enable removals from the NRR and the PLE on the basis of records being forwarded by the GRO.
It was noted most recently that former president of Guyana Arthur Chung, who passed away in 2008, was not removed from the PLE. Persaud told Stabroek News that the GRO had never provided Gecom with any information on Chung.
Having a name remaining on the list does not affect the other checks and balances that are put in place during voting. Stabroek News was told that persons casting a vote could not just simply turn up to a polling station and claim to be a deceased person whose name was still on the Official List of Electors.
Persaud stated that Gecom was operating with an accurate PLE and that any and all discrepancies were being looked at.
“We are confident that every person on the [NRR] and the PLE, which is extracted from the NRR, are legitimate electors and registrants,” he said.
“At Gecom, we register people based on the relevant legal provision and the policy decision which would have been made by the Commission over time… Having said that, I can tell you every single person that we have registered, we have records to show that they were registered on the basis of having met the criteria for registration,” Persaud added, while stressing that the transactions have also been monitored and signed off by scrutineers representing all the political parties.
Persaud said that Gecom was currently undertaking an exercise that was aimed at showing how since 2008 the number of persons on the PLE would have met the qualifying age to be included.
The People’s Progres-sive Party (PPP) has on a weekly basis been casting doubt on Gecom’s preparedness in meeting the necessary requirements for the holding of elections.
On Monday, PPP General Secretary Clement Rohee stated that “Never in its history did Guyana have a list with over 550,000 electors. We deserve a forthright and logical explanation from Gecom.”
The party has also cited other “irregularities,” such as having 18 names registered at the same address as well as persons residing in the same household being registered under different divisions.
Stabroek News was told that persons registering may have moved and never applied for a transfer from Gecom.
Persaud told Stabroek News that the five persons living under one house but registered under the wrong division was an error that was made at the point of registration where the wrong box was ticked, however a correction can be made at any time.
He added that the reason political parties are given the PLE to study is for issues to be raised and reported to the commission.