WPA urges new GECOM Chair to resist “pressures” to scrap house-to-house registration

The Working People’s Alliance (WPA) on Sunday called on the new Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chairperson to resist pressure for halting house-to-house registration, amidst incessant calls by the opposition for elections to be held swiftly with a claims and objections period to update the existing voters’ list.

“Justice (Claudette) Singh’s first task has to do with the contentious issue of what to do with the Voters List. She takes up office in the middle of a fierce debate over the House to House registration which was ordered by her predecessor. There would obviously be enormous pressure on her to discontinue that exercise. But she must withstand those pressures,” the party said in a statement to welcome Justice Singh’s appointment.

The WPA’s call comes against the backdrop of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) demanding that President David Granger dissolves Parliament and calls general elections the latest by September 18, three months after the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) validated last December’s no-confidence motion.

But the governing coalition, including the WPA, believes that the voters’ list, which expired on April 30, is bloated by about 200,000 names and contains other defects, necessitating the need for house-to-house registration. The High Court is hearing a case in which Christopher Ram states that house-to-house registration is unconstitutional and illegal and will collide with the CCJ ruling which will take elections well outside the three-month period moreso since the opposition has vowed not to extend the life of the government and postpone elections.

The WPA says it hopes that retired Justice Claudette Singh’s apolitical stance will advance the impartiality of the electoral body, and appeals for a toning down of the political rhetoric for GECOM to carry out its mandate. “WPA hopes her decisions would be guided by the CCJ’s doctrine of “marrying principle with practicality.”