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GUYANA | Chief Justice says GECOM's House-to-House Registration is Constitutional

Featured Chief Justice, Roxane George-Wiltshire dsays house to house registration is constitutional Chief Justice, Roxane George-Wiltshire dsays house to house registration is constitutional
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, August 15, 2019 - Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire on Wednesday ruled that house-to-house registration being conducted by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) prior to the announcement of new elections is not illegal or unconstitutional but has urged GECOM to consider other forms of verification.

The Chief Justice also ruled that Guyanese citizens,  previously registered and residing overseas could not be removed from the database named the National Register of Registrants.

She said unless the persons change their addresses through a new house-to-house verification process or by registering at a district office, they would have to vote in the district in which they were registered.

The Chief Justice explained that  the Caribbean Court of Justice did not fix or imply that general elections must be held by September 18, three months after the no-confidence motion was validated by the regional final appeal court.

The Chief Justice noted that the law provides for the General Registrar and the Chief Immigration Officer to play roles in verifying the register.

She urged GECOM to consider, in addition to house-to-house verification, other means by which the register could be verified to allow for the conduct of timely general and regional elections. “GECOM cannot operate as if it is in a normal elections cycle,” she said.

GECOM sources told Demerra Waves that more than GYD$1 billion has already been spent on the registration process that has captured almost 200,000 persons since it commenced on July 20.

The seven-member elections commission is Thursday expected to consider the Chief Justice’s decision after which the Chair, Retired Justice Claudette Singh will advise the President.

In the meantime, the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), a member of the governing coalition, on Thursday urged the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) to agree to an extension of the deadline by which general elections ought to be held, in the wake of Wednesday’s High Court ruling that blessed the constitutionality of house-to-house registration.

The call came one day after Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo made it clear again that the PPP would not be lending its parliamentary support for the extension of the life of the David Granger-led administration by the constitutionally required two-thirds majority.

The PPP has since said that based on the Chief Justice’s reasoning on Wednesday, the life of the government expired since March 21 and the court could not be expected to re-fix the date when the no-confidence motion was passed from December 21, 2018 to June 18, 2019 when the Caribbean Court of Justice validated the vote.

The PPP and Christopher Ram, who had challenged the constitutionality of the house-to-house registration process, have since said they would not be appealing the Chief Justice’s decision. They claimed what they said was a major victory in blocking the removal of thousands of Guyanese from the National Register of Registrants.

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Last modified onThursday, 15 August 2019 14:06
  • Countries: Guyana

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