Objections period will separate real from ghost

General Secretary of the PNCR, Amna Ally

…PNCR backs GECOM decision to verify names

GENERAL Secretary of the Peoples National Congress Reform, Amna Ally, has backed the move by the Guyana Elections Commission to remove the names of persons, who failed to pick up their National ID cards since 2008, from the Official List of Electors.

During a PNC/R press conference on Friday at Congress Place, Sophia, Ally said there is a massive objection to a number of people who are non-existent. The Commission’s Chairman, Justice (rt’d) Claudette Singh, decided that GECOM will be publishing the names of in excess 20,000 persons who did not collect their national Identification Cards since 2008. Official notices will also be sent to their addresses.

“If I am to ask that 25,000 persons who were registered since 2008, this is now 2019, 11 years after have not picked up their ID card, is it that for 11 years they didn’t have reason for any transaction, and those might be the only ones that have been recognised. My information is that at the moment there is massive objections to a number of people who are non-existent,” she said.

From reports, Ally said in many communities, there are names on the list of persons who were never seen or located. “We cannot come up with a figure whether it is one, two or 150, we will know at the end of the day, because GECOM has said that they are going to publish the names of the 25,000 people and when there are objections, when people make objections there are hearings, and so at the hearings, if you are in existence you have to present yourself, if you are dead or it’s a phantom name, then obviously you would not be able to present yourself and therefore at the end of the exercise you will be able to determine how many people were on the list that were identified and may have to be removed,” the general secretary said.

Ally explained that at the end of the exercise on November 11, 2019, a better picture will be available pertaining to the existence of voters. GECOM will this weekend, publish the names of over 25,000 persons who have failed to uplift their National Identification Cards, having applied for same some 11 years ago.

Meanwhile, the opposition PPP said it is concerned with the large number of what it termed “unsubstantiated” objections being made by the APNU+AFC. In a release on Friday, the party said GECOM officials have received over three thousand (3000) objections in Region Five. This includes almost five hundred (500) names from the Amerindian settlement, Marakabai in the Mahaicony River, the Robb Street headquartered party said.

“Our constitution clearly states that a person can only be removed from the voters list due to death, upon which a valid death certificate must be produced, and insanity proven by a recognised doctor’s certificate. No one can be taken off the voters list due to residency, be it local or overseas. This was also reaffirmed by the recent ruling of the Chief Justice.” The PPP said to date, two hearings have been suspended in Region Five due to lack of supporting evidence from the APNU+AFC and GECOM officials wanting to seek clarity.

“The APNU+AFC representative in Region Five, Carol Joseph, has failed to produce a single shred of evidence to support the objections made. This is a deliberate attempt by the APNU+AFC and its agents to disenfranchise people who are perceived to be PPP supporters. Many of these persons have already come forward to identify themselves. A few may have moved from their original place of residence, however, this is not grounds for removing anyone from the voters list. The PPP is therefore calling on all Guyanese to condemn this nefarious act of trying to take away the rights of voters and is urging GECOM to ensure that the constitution is adhered to during this process.”

Chairman of GECOM, Justice (rtd) Claudette Singh, says persons must come forward and verify their existence. The commission, in today’s newspaper, has published the names of the supposed owners of over 20,000 ID cards. These individuals have 10 days to show up and collect their cards. Failure to do so will result in them being struck off the Official List of Electors.