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GECOM to decide on verification today

…parliamentary opposition parties to picket

The Guyana Elections Commission is expected to meet today to decide on a system of verification in the run-up to elections, which are slated to be held at a date after August 30.

The Joint Parliamentary Opposition Parties (JPOP) are also expected to picket the Commission's Kingston office today to press their demands for verification in the form of a house-to-house exercise.

Kaieteur News understands that the GECOM commissioners were expected to bring closure to the issue last Tuesday at its statutory meeting, but the absence of the Commission's Chairman, Dr. Steve Surujbally, prevented the Commission from meeting.

The PNCR has described the meeting as a “breaking point.”

Sources disclosed yesterday that the outcome of today's meeting, which starts at 13:00 hrs, is crucial, as it will determine if the JPOP's demands for house-to-house verification will be met.

The PNCR, at its weekly press conference yesterday, stated that a decision on the verification process has been long forthcoming. Party executives charged that Dr. Surujbally had set out to delay the outcome by way of a series of “adjourned meetings”.

GECOM commissioners agreed to place verification on the top of their agenda, following the return of the opposition-appointed commissioners who had withdrawn from the process citing several internal issues.

Yesterday, the PNC maintained that house-to-house verification of the 2001 OLE (Official List of Electors) is important in ensuring the reliability of the 2006 OLE.

The 2001 OLE has been merged with the list of new registrants to produce the 2006 OLE. The PNCR stated that its preliminary analysis indicated that the Preliminary List of Electors (PLE) still contains the names of the dead.

The party stated that there are many eligible persons whose names are not on the 2006 PLE, though they were duly registered and are the bearers of National Identification Cards.

Executive Member of the PNCR, Joseph Hamilton, explained that there are also families who reside in the same household but yet find their names on different divisional and sub-divisional lists in their area. The party could not say to what extent these irregularities existed.

Instead, the party stated that persons making objections were advised that they could only object to the name of a dead person if they produced the death certificate of the person to whom they were objecting.

The PNCR wrote to GECOM Wednesday requesting an extension of the Claims and Objections period so that every Guyanese, including those in the remote areas and communities in difficult terrain, can have a reasonable opportunity to participate in the objections exercise.

The party in its letter to GECOM also raised concerns about the inadequate number of registration offices for the Claims and Objections exercise.

The picketing action comes after the parties had publicly declared their intention to take to the streets if the electoral issues were not addressed.

The JPOP and the government had initiated talks on addressing the issues and established two teams, but those talks subsequently collapsed without them arriving at a major decision.

Kaieteur News