even that meeting

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even that meeting

Poslaťod god5mane98 » 19 Máj 2017 20:07

Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Dr Steve Surujbally yesterday rejected statements peddled in the media by PPP General Secretary Clement Rohee that the Secretariat had refused to answer questioned presentedGECOM ChairmanDr Steve Surujballyto them at a recent meeting.Earlier this week, the PPP General Secretary chided Surujbally and Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield for being “defensive, evasive and indifferent,” at a recent meeting between a PPP delegation and GECOM.Rohee accused the two men of clamming up and skillfully dodging questions posed to them by the said delegation. He posited that their predisposition will only prove “counter-productive and aggravate the already existing tension between the PPP and GECOM,”  as well as increasing the doubts of the PPP about GECOM’s favouritism and inability to supervise the holding of free and fair elections in Guyana.Surujbally categorically refuted Rohee’s allegations, stating that while it is difficult to recognize why the PPP would choose to make such declarations, he believed that it was a ploy to “embarrass” GECOM. He insisted that all the questions posed by Rohee, who was heading the delegation, were answered. Therefore, Surujbally said he was stunned by the “abuse” and “language” coming from Rohee.Nevertheless, he announced that every meeting with GECOM is recorded.“We record everything in a boardroom, even that meeting,” he charged, insisting that if they were supposed to respond to the onslaught emanating from the PPP, the automatic response would be “‘You see we have proved our point. GECOM is against us’ and we are not prepared to do that,” he stated.At the meeting, he said, the PPP delegation informed the Secretariat about it reservations and concerns with regard to the holding of the Local Government Elections and the Commission answered, providing all the relevant information.The issues raised included the period for Claims and Objections versus a ninth cycle of continuous registration; the non-availability of lists for each constituency for use during the Claims and Objections period; the listed number of registered voters in each Constituency and Municipality; the non-availability of sketch maps showing each constituency with clear lines of demarcation; absence of voter education; preparation of NDCs for Local Government Elections and provisions for voting by the Disciplined Services; the effectiveness of GECOM’s communication strategy relative to the conduct of Local Government Elections, considering that there will be a host of other national events that are likely to be held around the same period, and also concerns about an ethnic imbalance relative to persons employed by GECOM.According to Lowenfield, it was custom and practice for the last day of the month preceding the month earmarked for the holding of elections, to be used as the qualifying date. He pointed out that the same principle had been applied in choosing the February 29, 2016 as the qualifying date for Local Government Elections.He stated that as it relates to the question whether the period for Claims and Objections was adequate as against conducting a cycle of continuous registration, the duration of the ongoing Claims and Objections exercise is 35 days i.e. 28 days for Claims and Objections and an additional seven days to treat with objections. He noted that the registration transactions that were being done, targeting persons from non-local authority areas were specific to those areas and that this must not be construed to mean (i) that the Commission was in fact conducting the 9th cycle of Continuous Registration, and (ii) that the relevant transaction would have any relativity to the PLVs/ Local Government Elections.With reference to the Preliminary Register of Voters, Lowenfield explained that a compact disc containing the comprehensive Preliminary Lists of Voters (PLVs) for all of the nine Municipalities and sixt- two NDCs was given to the delegation at the meeting. This list contains the total number of electors in every Constituency in all of the Municipalities and NDCs.  A hard copy was later presented to the party three days later.Surujbally stated, in response to Rohee’s query about the effectiveness of GECOM’s communication strategy relative to the conduct of Local Government Elections, considering that there will be a host of other national events that are likely to be held around the same period, that GECOM is charged with the conduct of Local Government Elections, a task which GECOM is committed to competently carrying out, regardless of any national or other event which may occur simultaneously.He also insisted that there was no ethnic imbalance relative to persons employed by GECOM. (see related story on page 11)Rohee had indicated that the PPP was disappointed with the answers provided at the meeting, mostly as they regarded the demarcation of boundaries, and “the re-employment of persons as elections officials who are known party activists belonging to the PNC/APNU/AFC.”He purported that the answers provided by Surujbally and Lowenfield were basically information that was already in the public domain and thus the PPP had nothing new to take away from the meeting.A press statement from GECOM indicated that since all of the delegations questions were answered, they were skeptical as to what “could be the objective of such a deliberate misinformation.”
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