By Staff Reporter – Guyana Chronicle July 6, 2019

  

Minister of Public Service and Chairperson of the WPA, Tabitha Sarabo Halley addressing the gathering at Buxton [Adrian Narine photos]

IN preparation for House- to- House registration, members of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) have urged supporters to ensure that their source documents are in order, so that they can be registered and become eligible to vote.

The house-to-house registration is expected to start later this month, following the completion of training for enumerators and other staff. “House-to-house registration is going to happen and we need to prepare for it,” Minister of Public Service and Chairperson of the WPA, Tabitha Sarabo Halley told a gathering at Buxton on Thursday night. According to the minister, the process of registration is imminent and in order to ensure that they are eligible to vote, all persons should ensure that their source documents are valid and in order.

For the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), the source documents required are: an original Birth Certificate, issued by the General Register Office or a valid Guyana Passport. These must be provided in support of an application for registration.

Additionally, other source documents which will have to be provided in support of applications for registration include an original Marriage Certificate and original Birth Certificate, in the case of a name change by way of marriage; an original Deed Poll and original Birth Certificate, in the case of any change of name by Deed Poll; an original Naturalization Certificate and original Birth Certificate/Valid Passport, in the case of naturalization; and an adoption certificate.

Addressing the gathering as well, WPA member and Immediate Past Chairman of the Buxton/ Foulis NDC, Deon Abrams highlighted that the house-to-house registration is important to allow all supporters to vote at the upcoming elections.

Sharing his personal experience from the 2015 elections, he highlighted that scores of persons turned up to the polling stations to vote only to discover that their names were not on the voters’ list because they did not register. Exacerbating that, he said that many of those persons do not possess a National Identification (ID) Card.


WPA member and Immediate Past Chairman of the Buxton/ Foulis NDC, Deon Abrams

“We have too many people out there who are not registered,” Abrams said. And as such, he said it is the task of the WPA and other constituents of the incumbent APNU+AFC coalition government to meet with every person, especially the younger electorates, and edify them on the importance of registering and casting their vote on election day.

He said: “Local government elections are not national elections. The importance of national elections is that it allows us to dictate the direction this country will take over the next five, ten or fifteen years.”

The CCJ recently ruled that the no-confidence motion against the government was validly passed, and that the appointment of the chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) was flawed. With this, there is a constitutional timeline for elections to be held within 90 days, but the WPA had said that this timeline should be married to the practicality of holding credible elections within that time frame. “What is at stake is respect for both the rule of law and the need for free and fair elections, in which all citizens are guaranteed the right to participate,” the WPA said in a statement, adding its belief that GECOM is not able to guarantee credible elections with the current voters’ list.

In that statement, the WPA advocated for this registration, voicing its concern that rushing to an election with a tainted list, and the possible disenfranchisement of new voters would be unconstitutional, and could aggravate tensions in the society. “Further, such a course of action could activate a new round of court actions that would ultimately cause more delays. We should not sacrifice one sacred principle in the undue haste to satisfy another one; what is needed is a formula that satisfies both. This calls for political will and maturity on the part of the leaders,” said the WPA. But, in light of the stipulated constitutional timeline, the WPA is urging that this exercise be done in the shortest possible time.