PRESS STATEMENT By People’s National Congress Reform Thursday, 18 May, 2006 Hall of Heroes Congress Place, Sophia.
Our preliminary analysis indicates that the PLE still contains the names of the dead. In Addition, there are many eligible persons whose names are not on the PLE, though they were duly registered and are the bearers of a National Identification Card;
The Public Rally at the Square of the Revolution last Saturday evening (13 May, 2006) marked the beginning of a national commitment to take back our Nation from crime, narcotics, corruption, incompetence, discrimination and all of the many manifestations of bad Governance which the Jagdeo regime has inflicted on this nation.
The People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) wrote the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), on 17 May, 2006, 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 exercise their constitutional right to be registered to vote and to object to those persons, listed in their Electoral Division, who are ineligible to be on the Preliminary List of Electors.
In the same correspondence the PNCR reminded GECOM of our earlier expressed concerns about the inadequate number of Registration Offices it had proposed to establish for the Claims and Objections exercise. The Party further highlighted the fact that, even with this inadequate number of Registration Offices, GECOM was still unable to establish many Offices in time for the commencement of the Claims and Objections period on 2 May, 2006. It was pointed out that, because of the unavailability of funds for the specific Registration Officers and staff, some centres, in Region 7 and Region 10, became operational some seven to twelve days after the commencement of the Claims and Objections exercise. In the case of Bara Kara, in the Canje River, a suitable building was not available.
In addition to all of the other frustrations and obstacles which are emanating from GECOM, particularly the costs of getting to the far flung centres, the May-June rainy period is making its negative contribution.
Information from field operatives of the PNCR, in many of the Electoral Districts, indicate that there seems to be no clear understanding on the part of GECOM officials in a large number of Offices of how they should process an Objection. Registration Officers at these centres are advising citizens differently on this specific issue. In some instances, persons wanting to make Objections were advised that they can only object to the name of a dead person if they produce the death certificate of the person they are objecting to. This is the most preposterous advice to eligible Electors, seeking to exercise the Constitutional right to object to persons who they consider ineligible to be on the Voter’s List, coming from GECOM Registration Officers who should have been trained and made familiar with the provisions outlined in their Manual and Instructions for Registration Officers and Staff for the Claims and Objections Period..
Our preliminary analysis indicates that the PLE still contains the names of the dead. In Addition, there are many eligible persons whose names are not on the PLE, though they were duly registered and are the bearers of a National Identification Card. There are also many others whose names are on the PLE and are yet to receive an ID card. Also there are those families who reside in the same household, but yet find their names on different divisional and sub-divisional lists in their area.
The most disturbing trend that has been revealed, on careful examination of the PLE, is the dislocation of the names of many eligible registered persons to Electoral Divisions far removed from the Division in which they reside. We give below a sample of examples which serve to establish the stark reality that there are major problems surfacing during this Claims and Objections period:
Celestine Fiano Chester, whose address is 19 Earl’s Court LBI, East Coast Demerara, is located in division 413132A in Albert town.
Julian L. A. Punch, whose address is 12 South Vryheid Lust, ECD, is located in division 413141B in South Cummingsburg.
Mark Anthony Mangal, whose address is 41 BB Eccles, EBD, is located in division 413141E in South Cummingsburg.
Realino Santiago, whose address is 13 Miles Issano Road, in Region # 7, is located in division 413112B in Kingston (East).
The above examples support the conclusion that the phenomena of dislocated names, that affected the 2001 OLE and created conditions for the disenfranchisement of many thousands of citizens at the 2001 Elections, is still evident in the PLE. It must be recalled that, in 2001, thousands of eligible Electors were dislocated to Electoral Divisions far away from the division in which they were registered and in which they resided.
The PNCR urges GECOM to explain to the Nation why this phenomena has not been rectified after five years and to inform all stakeholders and the nation what procedures they intend to employ to fix this very serious flaw, so as to ensure that eligible electors are not disenfranchised in 2006 as happened in 2001.
Those who have been claiming publicly that the 2001 OLE was the best List ever should now, if they are so capable, be hanging their heads in shame and embarrassment.
The PNCR once again reiterates its view that house to house verification of the 2001 OLE is the only remedy that can cure the ills that have been confirmed as affecting the reliability of the unverified 2001 OLE that has now been merged with the verified new Registrants to contaminate the published 2006 PLE.
Reports from many citizens in Georgetown have informed the PNCR that PPP/C Scrutineers are in the field presenting themselves to citizens as officials of GECOM. The PNCR has already reported this matter to senior officials of the GECOM Secretariat. We await action by GECOM to bring an end to this blatant impersonation by persons working on behalf of the PPP/C.
LET US TAKE BACK OUR NATION
The Public Rally at the Square of the Revolution, last Saturday evening (13 May 2006), marked the beginning of an expected national commitment to take back our Nation from crime, narcotics, corruption, incompetence, discrimination and all of the many manifestations of bad Governance which the Jagdeo regime has inflicted on this nation.
In that context, it is worthwhile for us, at this time, to reflect on the message of Mr. Robert Corbin, Leader of the PNCR and of the Opposition, in his Address to the Nation on Wednesday 26 April, 2006:
“For us in the People’s National Congress Reform, and for me as Leader of that Party and as Leader of the Opposition, this is not a time for cheap politicking, hypocritical statements or reckless and inflammatory utterances, but for sober and sane leadership to give citizens hope that the major political stakeholders are determined to act in concert to restore the security of this nation.
We must bring Guyana back to a position where mothers are not burdened daily with worry for the safety of their families, where business owners can open their doors without trepidation, where taxi drivers can ply their trade without fear of abduction or death, where farmers and traders can bring their produce to market without fear for their personal security and where all citizens can go about their daily lives in an environment of peace and security.
While the People’s National Congress Reform does not underestimate the enormity of the task, on its behalf, I wish to publicly state that the Party believes that, with a sincere effort of cooperation among all stakeholders, we can succeed in overcoming the problems. In this regard we attempted two years ago, without success, to have the President establish a Commission of Enquiry into the East Coast violence. President Jagdeo spoke then of establishing such a Commission, but nothing has been heard of it since. It is now more necessary than ever. You will recall that the Disciplined Forces Commission was established on the initiative of the PNCR. Its one hundred and sixty four recommendations are gathering dust.
I pledge publicly, on behalf of the People’s National Congress Reform, to work assiduously and unreservedly with other stakeholders towards the development of a genuine national strategy to confront the dangers that threaten to overwhelm us all.
As servants of the people we understand our obligation in this regard.
Recently, the Joint Opposition Parliamentary Parties hosted a forum on crime at which many views and suggestions were expressed. As stated then, the PNCR stands ready to work for their implementation.
Many more and other forums have to be sponsored to provide opportunity for citizens’ views to be taken into account in the formulation of policy and operational responses to deal with the situation and we will work with all who share an interest in this approach.
We propose also to engage more intensely with religious leaders and non governmental organizations in dialogue on the mutually reinforcing role that we could play, either together or in our respective organizations.
My message to this Nation this evening, therefore, is this: whatever our various other preoccupations, whatever our differences, we must pause, reflect on our total national circumstance and act together. We must sit, all of us, together, in a reconciliatory environment that is driven by a common cause – the cause of the survival of this nation. I say we must act together now, not tomorrow, but today. It is in that spirit that my Party and I are calling for an immediate retreat of the political leaders of this country at the very highest levels to sit together to discuss and find a way out of this emergency. I sincerely believe that if the leaders of this nation act together the spirit of the Nation will be lifted and light will shine through the darkness.”
People's National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Thursday, 18 May, 2006
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