Hundreds of first-time voters registered

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a GECOM worker during a house-to-house registration exercise at Eccles, East Bank Demerara, on Sunday (DPI Photo)

–as house-to-house registration enters Day Two

HUNDREDS of Guyanese countrywide continue to make use of the ongoing house-to-house registration process, seeing it as critical to the upcoming elections and the provision of updated Identification (ID) cards.

Both first-time and reoccurring registrants openly spoke with the Guyana Chronicle on Sunday after enumerators of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) visited their homes.

“This is my first experience, and it was quite fine. I didn’t feel any pressure of some sort. The person that came was very helpful; they were very courteous,” 20-year-old Finesse Hamilton said.

Esther Glasglow

“First I needed to have either my birth certificate or my passport; I gave that to them, and then they filled up two separate documents and I just signed. My picture was also taken; my height. And finally I had to get my finger prints from each of my fingers on to another document and that was it; very simple and to the point.”

A few registration workers, who were embracing the cold weather to carry out their duties, had just visited her residence in South Ruimveldt Gardens, Georgetown.
They also took note of the registrant’s occupation and place of birth.

Asked her thoughts on the exercise and its importance, Hamilton stated: “In order for us to get a definite idea of the amount of citizens we have that can vote when elections come, I feel that this is very important. I hope that we get to go through the entire process, and it’s not cut short.”

Meanwhile, another first-time voter was 19-year-old Esther Glasglow, all the way from the East Bank of Demerara (EBD).

“It was easy for the first time. It wasn’t too bad,” she said, adding: “I believe it’s an important process, because we have to be registered in order to vote.”

NOT TO WORRY
The registration workers have also notified residents that in the case that a family member who needs to be registered is not home at the time of their visit, they should be on the lookout, as workers will be returning in the next two weeks to previous locations.
This also goes for individuals who were without their documents at the time of their first visit.

The Guyana Chronicle spoke with two individuals who expressed that when the enumerators came by, they hadn’t their documents at hand.
“They came here this morning, and everything was good. I didn’t get registered as yet, because I currently don’t have my birth certificate here, but they will come back for it,” one resident at Friendship, EBD said.

Corletta Armstrong

Another individual, in the presence of her daughter and mother, who got registered, expressed assurance that those not registered during the first visit will still have a chance to do so.

“It was okay. Three persons didn’t get registered today because they’re not at home. My daughter, she’s at work; my nephew is not around, and my cousin, he’s overseas right now. But they said not to be afraid; they will be around, and they will pass back,” a resident in Gobin Drive, Friendship said.

She then added: “I believe it’s an important exercise, because without certain documents, you know, you can’t do certain things. If you don’t have an ID card, and it’s not updated, you cannot do any business transactions. And that’s why I think it’s important.”

Meanwhile, Corletta Armstrong stated the while she and some of her children were registered, she has a son who still has to get his documents in order.
She is happy that GECOM has expressed a willingness to facilitate him, as it would be more cost-efficient for her family.

“I had my documents prepared, but I have some more kids in here that I’ll have to do late registration for [at GECOM]. I asked the [registration worker] if like how the registration is going on, if I would get a hard time and she said no,” Armstrong said.
“I want him to get his documents to do his registration before elections come up. At least you can get your ID card [which is] what you really need to use to do transactions and those stuff.”

Rushanna Bhagwandin, who also live at the same residence, chimed in: “It’s important, and it’s the right way to go.”

Meanwhile, Pooran, who lives at Grove on the EBD, said he and five others in his household took the opportunity to get registered on Sunday.
“It wasn’t hard, but it was lengthy, especially when you have like five and six persons in the house that got to do it. Everybody in my house had to do it; five persons, all adults,” he said.

“I would say it’s important, because you’re getting an ID card, and it’s for the elections.”
Thirty-five-year-old Cleveland Ramdeen added: “I registered; everything was just smooth. This is the second time I’m getting registered. It’s a part of your ID card, so it has to be important, because how will you get to transact business?”
The registration exercise commenced on Saturday, July 20, and is expected to end on October 20, 2019.

Of the 1,800 teams expected in total, 1,056 were deployed on Saturday, while there were 261 cluster offices. More teams will be added in the coming days to ensure that there is a full complement.

GECOM wishes to remind residents to keep their documents at hand. Those documents include a birth certificate, a valid passport, an adoption certificate or a naturalisation certificate/certificate of registration.

Married women may also be asked to present their marriage certificate, while individuals who have had a name change, which is not represented on their birth certificate, must present the certificate along with a deed poll.