Public Relations Officer of GECOM, Yolanda Ward

– PRO says no hiccups as workers fan out By Navendra Seoraj

THE Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM)’s field (house-to-house) verification of over 16,000 persons is going smoothly, said GECOM’s Public Relations Officer Yolanda Ward.
“I haven’t received any information from the field about adverse effects…so far everything is going well,” said Ward in an invited comment on Saturday.

The verification exercise, which started on Thursday, will come to an end today. At the start of the exercise, GECOM had issued a notice which stated that all new registrants from the house-to-house registration exercise which ended in August, must be on the lookout for a team from GECOM.

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The teams have since been visiting places across the country. Ward was unable to say how many persons have been verified so far, but said she will be able to provide a more conclusive figure at the end of the verification exercise today.

The commission, however, anticipates a successful outcome because teams have been deployed to regions across the country and are working to complete the task.
Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield had said that it is critical that verification of new registrants is completed within its five-day limit as failure to do so could affect the commission’s planned timelines.

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Lowenfield has said a team of scrutineers would be working up to Sunday to ensure that they can verify the existence of some 16,300 new registrants.

The need for verification comes as there have been instances of duplicates whereby persons already on the National Register of Registrants Database (NRRDB) were found to be listed as new registrants. Lowenfield said that the activity will bring closure to GECOM’s preparation of a Revised List of Electors (RLEs); the RLE will be the final list published for review before the Official List of Electors (OLEs).

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“The exercise seeks to confirm the identities of 16,300 persons approximately. Working along with our staff and members of the scrutineering teams, we will be moving to ensure that those persons are found. If not found, then the commission, at the next statutory meeting…will deliberate on further actions to be taken.

“It is imperative that that decision [be] made over that period because our work plan indicates that we should start production or printing of the revised list of electors on or before December 29, 2019,” said Lowenfield.

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Providing data, the CEO said that the largest concentration areas of new registrants to be scrutinised are located on the East Coast corridor with 2,300; South Georgetown with 2,106; North Georgetown with 1,528 and Parika with 1,241.
The total new registrants in other areas include: Mabaruma 511; Moruca Sub Region 176; Charity 451; Anna Regina 682; Vreed-en-hoop 851; La Grange 947; East Bank of Demerara 1,428; New Amsterdam 600; Whim 541; Corriverton 601; Bartica 182; Kamarang 100; Mahdia 105; Paramakatoi 56; Lethem 218; Mackenzie, Linden 459 and Wismar, Linden 451.

Following the verification process, the commission will provide reports on how the individuals will be committed for production of the RLEs
Meanwhile, government-appointed GECOM Commissioner Vincent Alexander had said the process, while legal, is useless, because the problem the commission is faced with, has to do with the question of duplicates and a verification will not in any way determine whether there are duplicates.

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“Re-visiting people does not determine duplicates or otherwise. What is required are two acts. One act is the act of cross-matching from the fingerprints — there’s some difficulty with those. The other thing that is required for GECOM to do [is] side-by-side comparison between the existing National Register of Registrants, the house-to-house registration and the Claims and Objections to see if across those there are names which are duplicates that have not been identified by the biometric matching,” said Alexander.
He said when dealing with duplicates, there is a normal process which involves an investigative process which is followed by a hearing in some instances. “What we do with the remaining instances of duplicates, where there is a duplicate and we do not find anybody duplicating fraudulently, the more recent information supersedes the previous information,” said Alexander.
Alexander was reported as saying that there had been a gross misrepresentation of what verification meant and it was surprising that the very opposition, which withheld its scrutineers needed for the verification of the information during house-to-house visits, was now all in for verification.

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“Unfortunately, the PPP boycotted the exercise and are now trying to get to do what they hadn’t done previously,” he said. GECOM has decided to post, for public scrutiny, the names of the new registrants at various GECOM offices.

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