Director General in the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon

THE Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) can rest assured that it will receive any additional finances needed for the holding of credible General and Regional Elections prior to the dissolution of the National Assembly.

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On Thursday, Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon said that Cabinet has under “active consideration” how it will go about this. Harmon said that the date for the dissolution of the National Assembly would be influenced “in principle measure” by the need for GECOM to get additional resources.

“We have said that it is important that GECOM gets all of the resources it needs to ensure that we have credible elections in March 2020…those issues will have to be dealt with before the Parliament is dissolved. I can’t say to you that Parliament is going to meet today or the other day but these are matters that are under active consideration in the Cabinet,” he said.

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Harmon added that although the National Assembly has not met since the passing of the no confidence motion, until Parliament is dissolved by President David Granger, it remains in function. At a press conference of the Commission earlier in November, Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, had confirmed that the Commission was in correspondence with the government in regards to additional finances and was given the assurance that such would be provided.

“Madame Chairman has written to the Honorable Minister of Finance to seek advice on the way forward relative to our funding…the technocrat at the Ministry will be making a determination for us to have all the funding required. The Minister did write and indicate that we will be provided with whatever is required for those elections,” Lowenfield had said.

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The elections body has received over $8 billion between November of 2018 and April of this year. As part of the National Budget for 2019, GECOM was allocated $5.546B – this sum, however, was supplemented with an additional $3.482B in May, 2019 after the commission indicated to the President that it lacked the financial resources to facilitate early elections.

INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS APPROVED
Meanwhile, Harmon updated that applications for several international observers for the coming elections had been made to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which has approved same and sent them to the Elections Commission. These include the Carter Center, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Commonwealth Secretariat.
Local groups which have also shown interest in elections observation include the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU); the Private Sector Commission (PSC); the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) and the American Chamber of Commerce in Guyana (AmCham Guyana). Despite many disagreements at the level of the Commission, the body has indicated that it is still on track for the March 2,2020 General and Regional Elections.

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