DCEO: GECOM ready as ever for conduct of elections –has requisite framework in place
THE Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has a framework in place to facilitate the conduct of elections. The assurance of readiness was given by the Commission’s Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO), Vishnu Persaud, in an interview with the Guyana Chronicle.
Persaud said that once President Donald Ramotar announces a date for general and regional elections, the necessary timelines will be “fixed” into the framework, and the Commission will kick into action.
“The framework we have in place will metamorphose into a Work-plan for the efficient conduct of general and regional elections,” Persaud said.
He also explained that the three-month period needed by GECOM, between the date Parliament is dissolved and Election Day, fits into the Commission’s framework.
“Within the framework, there are various statutory and administrative requirements, which must be completed and are relevant to the efficient management and conduct of general and regional elections,” the DCEO said.
CLAIMS AND OBJECTIONS PERIOD
Asked about the upcoming Claims and Objections period, following the end of the seventh cycle of continuous registration, Persaud noted that this forms part of GECOM’s framework.
“One component of the framework is the Claims and Objections, which has to be done to ensure that we have an OLE (Official List of Electors) for general and regional elections,” he said.
The seventh cycle of continuous registration commenced on November 30th, 2014, and allowed persons the opportunity to register for the first time, conduct transfers and make changes to their registration details.
The numbers released to the Guyana Chronicle indicated that new registrations, currently being verified, number 6,003 persons, while there were also 1,163 changes and corrections to existing registration information and 1,248 transfers due to issues related to change of address, etc.
Also, at the end of the sixth cycle of continuous registration, in the latter part of June, there were registrations of some 14,981 new persons, 14,942 of whom have already been verified. There were also 2,004 transfers, owing to issues related to changes of address, and 2,747 changes/corrections to existing registration information.
Prior to the sixth cycle of continuous registration, the last such exercise ended in December 2013.
Additionally, an announcement from President Donald Ramotar on a date for general and regional elections is expected to be made soon.
President Ramotar, in early December, ended the wait of the Guyanese people with the much-anticipated announcement on the way forward to bring an end to the current political impasse – a move to early general and regional elections.
A move by the President to set a date will have a bearing on several processes. Once a date is set, it will translate to the dissolution of Parliament, which currently still stands suspended under the November prorogation proclamation. Political parties will then kick into campaign mode. And once a proclamation announcing a date is made by the President to go to general and regional elections, GECOM will have its timelines with which to work.
Asked for clarity on a timeline within which a date would be set for a return to the polls, the President assured that he would make the proclamation early this year.
The Head of State expressed confidence in his party regaining the parliamentary majority it lost in the 2011 general and regional elections by one seat. At the last elections, the combined Opposition gained control of the National Assembly by a one-seat majority in a 33-32 split.
President Ramotar credited his confidence to the Government’s performance in moving the country forward for the benefit of the Guyanese people, and to the experiences of the Guyanese people in the last three years.
The last general and regional elections were held in November 2011.