UK-based Guyanese pensioner asks High Court to quash GECOM’s house-to-house registration

A private citizen has asked the High Court to quash planned house-to-house registration by the Guyana Elections Commission’s (GECOM) on the grounds that it is unconstitutional.

Bibi Zenatoun, through her lawyer, Anil Nandlall, wants an injunction and a conservatory order to block the registration process which is expected to begin around June.

“I am advised by my Attorneys-at-Law and do verily believe that there are no laws that require proof of residency in Guyana as being an element of qualification for registration to the National Register of Registrants.

I am advised by my Attorneys-at-Law and do verily believe that I am a registered elector in Guyana and during the Respondents’ present proposed House to House Registration exercise, I will be excluded and will cease to be a registered elector and will be denied the opportunity and right to vote in any upcoming elections in Guyana,” she said in court papers.

GECOM is pushing ahead with plans to conduct the house-to-house registration process to create a new National Register of Registrants from which will be extracted a new voters’ list.

However, Zenatoun says to do so will be unconstitutional, ultra vires, illegal, null, void and of no effect because it “will exclude existing qualified registrants currently on the National Register of Registrants and on the voters’ list and so the process will also be unconstitutional, ultra vires, illegal, null, void and of no effect. In a writ filed against the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield and GECOM, the woman says the registration process will exclude her and violate her right to vote.

In court papers seen by Demerara Waves Online News, Zenatoun says she is a pensioner, and a registered elector in Guyana.

The woman says she worked as a teacher in the United Kingdom from 1980 until her retirement in 2014. She acquired property and maintained a residence in the United Kingdom where she also receives health benefits.

The applicant has an adult son who resides in Guyana along with his two children, and for seven months during the year, she returns to Guyana to help care for her grandchildren and guide them in their academic studies.

Zenatoun, who says she has voted in elections in Guyana as recent as the 2018 Local Government Elections, became aware through the news media that she could potentially lose her right to vote through house-to-house registration.

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