over 17,000 registrants from H2H Registration found to be duplicates

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) will be doing an internal investigation after data returned from cross-matching overseas was unable to match some 60,000 names recorded during the halted House-to-House Registration.

GECOM Commissioner Sase Gunraj

This was revealed at the conclusion of a statutory meeting on Tuesday. Opposition-nominated GECOM Commissioner Sase Gunraj said that these 60,000 persons are not necessarily new registrants since initial investigations found that a significant portion is already on the National Register of Registrants (NRR).
“Based on the cross-matching information that we have received, the number of forms that did not attract a hit from the cross-matching number is about 60,000. On the face of it, one would want to assume that those are new persons,” he said.
“However, the Chief Elections Officer has indicated to us that the Secretariat went through a process where they looked at that cross-matching report and they have found more than 17,000 who were presumed to be new, to be already on the database”.
Asked whether GECOM Chair Retired Justice Claudette Singh has called for a vote on the matter, Gunraj noted that in the first place, there is no clarity about the data itself, so there could be no vote on how to use the data.

GECOM Chair Retired Justice
Claudette Singhg

However, he explained that GECOM has since contacted the service provider for clarity on the information. Asked if this could delay the already-delayed process for General and Regional Elections, he was unable to say.
“We have taken a decision to contact the service provider of the fingerprint cross-matching. But that is where we are. We don’t know if it was a mistake of the company. We don’t know what the position is, so we’re waiting on clarity on the way forward”.

It has been weeks that GECOM has been unable to decide on how it will use the House-to-House Registration data

“At this point, there has been no indication to us about the possibility of a delay. But a resolution of this in a timely manner will help in the smoothness of the process,” Gunraj further explained to the media. Meanwhile, Government-nominated Commissioner Vincent Alexander noted that GECOM’s investigation is likely to take a week.
It has been weeks that GECOM has been unable to reach a consensus on what it will eventually do with this data. Last week’s statutory meeting had ended with Gunraj also revealing that they were unable to reach a consensus on the usage of the House-to-House data – a process which was halted since August 31.
The inconclusive nature of the meeting was even though the Chairperson had promised that a decision would be made. Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, himself, had also met with the Chairperson on Tuesday last, where issues regarding this data were discussed.
When H2H started this year, it was without the input of the Opposition. In fact, the only party that scrutinised the enumerators during the exercise was the ruling party, as the PPP was not invited to participate.
In fact, the parliamentary opposition has long contended that merging the data would corrupt the entire database, citing the manner in which the data was collected. On the other hand, the Government-nominated Commissioners have advocated for the inclusion of the data.
A decision was taken recently by GECOM to post the House-to-House data at its registration office for persons to inspect and then use as a reference to make changes to the Preliminary List of Electors (PLE). At the time, the Opposition was opposed to this decision since the H2H data was likely to be inaccurate.

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