Black Immigrant Daily News
File Photo: A GECOM ballot clerk desk during voting for the Joint Services for the 2020 elections
Another delay in the hosting of Local Government Elections (LGE) seems imminent, according to Attorney General Anil Nandlall who said based on what has been taking place at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), the agency is unlikely to go to the polls on March 13, 2023.
This was the date announced by Local Government and Regional Development Minister Nigel Dharamlall after GECOM had indicated its preparedness to host the LGE.
But during his programme “Issues in the News”, Nandlall lamented that “unfortunately, based upon the way events are unfolding at that agency, we have had constant delays. Though the Minister has appointed a day for the elections to be held, from all indications, it appears that GECOM will not be in a position to hold those elections.”
“That is highly regrettable, that is highly unfortunate. It is the constitutional duty of GECOM to hold elections when elections fall due. That is all that GECOM is required to do,” Nandlall further bemoaned.
He reminded that the PPP/C has already indicated its readiness to participate in the LGE and more so, that the government has already allocated funds towards that activity.
In this regard, the Attorney General expressed his frustration at GECOM’s inability to prepare for the polls.
“The time for elections is upon us and I am repeating again, GECOM needs to do all that is necessary to ready the machinery to hold these elections. Elections are an important part of the democratic fabric of our society, it is part of the constitutional machinery of our democracy,” he exclaimed.
GECOM has already completed the statutory steps, such as claims and objections, to extract an Official List of Electors for LGE.
However, the agency was forced to postpone Nomination Day after the opposition went to court to challenge the voters list and process used.
In December 2020, GECOM CEO Vishnu Persaud, requested a 14-day period to conduct further Claims and Objections, which neither of the two main political parties objected to.
LGE, which are usually due every two years, was last held in 2018. At the last LGE in November 2018, the then PPP/C Opposition had secured 52 of the 80 Local Authority Areas (LAAs). This followed the holding of the LGE in 2016, during which the PPP/C also claimed the majority of the LAAs.