‘Norton averse to logic, spreads misinformation’
Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira
Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira

–Minister Teixeira says

MINISTER of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira, on Tuesday said that Leader of the opposition, Aubrey Norton, is averse to logic and is bent on sharing misinformation as it relates to his party’s calls for a “clean voters’ list.”

The minister’s remarks were a direct response to claims made by the opposition, A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), concerning a “motion” which Norton attempted to table in the National Assembly on Monday.

Teixeira outlined specifically why the motion brought by the Opposition Leader was disallowed by the Speaker and noted that the said motion was not seen by anyone from the government’s side of the House.

“The normal procedure when you ask for an adjournment to allow for debate… on an urgent public matter, requires that the mover brings a motion, which I said we never saw. We can only judge by what Mr Norton said on the floor,” she said.

On the matter of a “clean voters’ list,” which the opposition has been unjustifiably calling for, Minister Teixeira said that this issue has been dealt with by Guyana’s courts.

At that time, it was ruled that there was no residency clause in the legislation, so anyone, as long as they are registered and emigrated, is allowed to vote in the election.
“There is no provision in the constitution to remove anybody based on the residency clause as there was none,” she said.

She went on to add that it seems that Norton’s objective to “clean the voters’ list” is truly about removing migrants from the list.

This fixation on removing migrants, Teixeira said, would seem to mean in Norton’s mind, that all persons living abroad would vote for the PPP/C; this is likely not true.

According to Minister Teixeira, as the opposition continues their call for the removal of migrants, the residency issue remains constitutional.

She said that this will have to come up during the process of constitutional reform and if the opposition feels that the matter is one of great urgency, she assumes that they will lead the battle in this matter.

The Opposition Leader, on Tuesday, told reporters at a news conference that the Preliminary List of Electors (PLEs) that has been released for the upcoming Local Government Elections (LGEs) has denied voters’ information as it relates to their respective constituencies

The Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Minister said that this is false, adding that the PLE for LGEs does not usually contain constituencies, but is, however, separated into divisions before it becomes the Official List of Electors.

This PLE, she said, is the final list for voters to check to ensure that all information is accurate and go through a claims and objections exercise.

“Mr. Norton has got it all wrong again. The PLE does not include constituencies for the purpose of Local Government Elections. Once the process has gone through the final correction, reviewed by the voters and it turns into the Official List of Electors, the constituencies will then be reflected,” Minister Teixeira explained.

With several amendments being made to the electoral laws, Teixeira pointed out that the opposition has had several opportunities to play its part and express concerns or bring forward amendments that they would like to see.

A process of consultations, she added, was held recently and this provided opportunities for civil society bodies, political parties and the country at large to bring forward proposed changes to the electoral laws.

“The APNU+AFC has never used the opportunity to table amendments, it is all about fluff and talk and creating these images… it is not about constructive engagement.

If they feel strongly about these issues, they have a right to engage on them,” Minister Teixeira said.

To this end, she said only time will tell whether the opposition will bring amendments to the House during debates on the electoral reform bill.


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