The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has by majority vote decided to continue with its approved work plan for the year 2019 inclusive of the house-to-house registration process for which $3 billion was allocated and it will advise the President that the 90-day constitutional timeline for general elections cannot be met.
This decision was made following advice received from the Ministry of Finance (MoF) which noted that the annual budget of a constitutional agency, such as GECOM, approved by the National Assembly shall not be altered without the prior approval of the National Assembly.
Following the commissioners’ statutory meeting today, PPP/C-appointed commissioner Robeson Benn told reporters that the Commission has voted to advise that GECOM cannot make the 90-day timeline as was established by the date of the December 21, 2018 no confidence vote; it has also voted to advise that it needs money for elections by appropriations and it also voted to have GECOM continue with its normal activities.
Public Relations Officer Yolanda Ward confirmed that following discussion on the advice received from the MoF the Coalition-nominated Commissioners moved three motions which were passed 3-2, 4-3 and 4-3 respectively. The 3-2 vote pertained to the 90-day deadline and there was controversy over the recording of the vote of PPP/C-appointed commissioner Sase Gunraj.
According to Ward on the motion pertaining to the 90-day deadline Gunraj did not indicate a yes or a no.
“On the second motion he voted no and added I said no for the first and I will say no again however (there was) no recording (of) him saying no to the first,” Ward explained.
On the second and third motions, Commission Chair James Patterson cast his vote with the coalition commissioners resulting in a majority vote in favour of motions that President David Granger be informed that based on advice the current appropriation cannot be used for elections and that GECOM will continue with its approved work plan as decided before December 21, 2018.