Guyana Politics: PPP wary of House-to-House/NRR merger

• believes process will take months
• highlights non-scrutiny of registration exercise
• says integrity could be questioned

Bharrat Jagdeo

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is worried that the merger announced by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) of the data acquired from House-to-House Registration and the National Register of Registrants (NRR) could call the integrity of the future Preliminary List of Electors (OLE) into question.

After considerable deliberations at the Commission on the way forward regarding the conduct of General and Regional Elections, Chairman of GECOM Justice Claudette Singh has instructed that House-to-House Registration must be brought to an end by Saturday, August 31, 2019.

That the data garnered from that registration exercise must be merged with the existing National Register of Registrants Database (NRRDB) and that the Commission will move to an extensive Claims and Objections Exercise (C&O) before extracting the Preliminary List of Electors (PLE).
During a press conference yesterday, Leader of the Opposition and General Secretary of the PPP, Bharrat Jagdeo, elaborated on why the party is in disagreement with the merger.

He said the initial contention is that the process will cause an unnecessary delay in the holding of General and Regional Elections. Jagdeo stated that of the 280,000-plus persons who have already been registered, most of them are likely persons who are already on the NRR. So most of them when entered, he added, will be duplications. He opined that it would waste a lot of time, because to enter all of these names into the database would take months.

The party’s second contention is that the House-to-House exercise was not scrutinised. The Opposition Leader has, since the process started in July, made known his concern that as the process requires its stakeholders to send scrutineers, the lack thereof leaves room for unsavoury interventions that could undermine the integrity of the upcoming General and Regional Elections.
Jagdeo had said that, because the PPP did not support the exercise, it would not send scrutineers to participate.

He worries now that the exercise could have registered “fake people” and migrants who have not yet been residents of Guyana long enough to earn the right to vote. He also contended that thousands of persons would be disenfranchised if their names are removed from the list.

The General Secretary said that this could specifically disenfranchise persons in certain hinterland communities, which are strongholds of the PPP. This contention, however, flies in the face of another statement by the Opposition Leader during the same press conference, that the Chief Justice’s ruling on Attorney-at-Law Christopher Ram’s legal challenge to House-to-House registration meant that worries about deregistration are a thing of the past.

Asked whether the PPP would make a concerted effort to challenge the merger, Jagdeo said it wouldn’t.
He said he is hopeful that the right decision will be made soon.

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  • Curtis  On 09/01/2019 at 9:14 am

    Jagdeo takes the word “opposition” very seriously. He opposes everything that the government or GECOM stipulate. Did he not approve the appointment of Judge Singh?

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