Updated on Monday, November 14, 2022, 7:31 p.m. by Denis Chabrol
The Guyana Electoral Commission (GECOM) never provided voter roll information to UK High Commissioner Jane Miller, who said the existing roll could be used with safeguards at polling stations, opposition coalition election commissioner Vincent Alexander said at the weekend.
“Not to my knowledge. There was no such interaction… I was wondering who told him and you have to be careful because we are in a lot of partisan politics and if the country is caught up in partisan politics, for who could she be told,” he said on the National People’s Congress reform program, Nation Watch.
Western diplomats, especially in the run up to general and regional elections, typically meet with the GECOM Chairman, Chief Electoral Officer, President, Leader of the Opposition, and Private Sector Commission.
GECOM commissioner warned UK envoy not to heed words of others as the only person who could have told him the existing voters list is acceptable and there are the required safeguards must be a partisan politician .
Mr Alexander also accused the British envoy of interfering in Guyana’s internal affairs. “It is a violation of what is required of foreign countries in relation to the internal affairs of a particular country, because it certainly seeks in a contextual and very partisan way to influence certain actions which are at the very heart of our democracy – our elections and perhaps seen as a level of interference in internal affairs,” said Mr. Alexander, a former member of the central executive of the National People’s Congress reform.
Opposition leader and National People’s Congress reform leader Aubrey Norton has said publicly that his party and Western diplomats discussed several issues, including the need for a clean voters list.
Commissioner GECOM hoped that the British High Commissioner could eventually say that biometrics could be one of the mechanisms that could be used at polling stations to authenticate and verify the identity of each voter.
Mr Alexander said of the voters list that ‘there is a real problem which is not solved’. He added that Guyana has the tradition until 2007 of periodic registration for the creation of a new register of registered voters and the electoral list.
The opposition coalition A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change fears that the electoral roll is bloated as there are nearly 690,000 names compared to Guyana’s population of 750,000.
On Monday, Attorney General Anil Nandlall challenged Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton to tell his Diaspora supporters why he was pushing to remove them from the voters list by calling for door-to-door registration. “No doubt those people would include thousands of supporters of Mr. Norton’s party. Above all, did he explain this to them? said Mr. Nandlall.
As the government refuted charges of voter impersonation in the general and regional elections on March 2, 2020, Mr Alexander said evidence had been obtained from the Department of Immigration and the General Register to prove that people who were in Guyana or who died had ballots filed in their name.