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…as Gov’t sets aside $1.1B for Local Government Elections  

By Svetlana Marshall  

March 4, 2021

Source

Approximately $1.1B has been included in the 2021 National Budget for the hosting of Local Government Elections by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) this year, but the absence of budgetary funding for the conduct of House-to-House Registration to generate a new Voters’ List ahead of those elections resulted in a heated exchange of words as the main opposition – the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) – pressured the Government for answers.

APNU+AFC Member of Parliament, Tabitha Sarabo-Halley

It was APNU+AFC Member of Parliament, David Patterson, who, during the Consideration of Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure in the Committee of Supply on Wednesday, sought to ascertain from the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira, what percentage of the $4B budgeted for the Elections Commission will be used to conduct Local Government Election.

In response, Minister Teixeira detailed that approximately $237.7M has been set aside for print and non-print materials to facilitate the Local Government Elections including the acquisition of 500,000 ballot papers; $135M for Training and Scholarship, of which $18M would be used to train 8,500 Elections Day staff;  $100M for the Commission’s Voters’ Education Programme; $32.8M for fuel and lubricants to transport GECOM staff to the 1,700 polling stations that would be spread across the Local Government areas; $81.6M for the rental of buildings, including private buildings to house polling stations; and $89.2M for refreshment and meals on Elections Day among other areas. Overall, $1.1B has been budgeted to facilitate the elections promised by the PPP/C Administration but the noticeable absence of funds for the conduct of House-to-House Registration did not sit well with the APNU+AFC.

In response to a question posed by MP Patterson, the Government’s Chief Whip informed the Committee of Supply, chaired by Speaker of the National Assembly Manzoor Nadir, that there was no provision in the $383.1B Budget for the facilitation of House-to-House Registration.

“That I believe would be a decision of the Commission, and if the Commission makes that decision and additional funds are required, we know what happens, we come back for Supplementary [funding] to this House,” Minister Teixeira said in an attempt to allay the concern of the main opposition.

Picking up where MP Patterson and a number of other APNU+AFC Members left up, Opposition Member of Parliament Tabitha Sarabo-Halley sought to ascertain why there were no budgetary allocations for House-to-House Registration, which the coalition strongly believes ought to result in the generation of a new National Register of Registrants and ultimately a fresh Voters’ List.

It has long been the coalition’s contention that the current Voters’ List is bloated with “dead people” and persons, who have long migrated – a position it held – ahead of the controversial March 2020 General and Regional Elections.

Against that background, MP Sarabo-Halley enquired, who prepared the budget, and when it was disclosed that a technical team from the Elections Secretariat had compiled the document and had it approved by the Elections Commission, the Opposition MP then sought to ascertain why the seven-member Commission, chaired by Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh would approve such a budget without the inclusion of funds for House-to-House Registration, when the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Observer Mission had recommended that there be a new Voters’ List given the discrepancies that arose during the 2020 Elections.

“Chairman, I repeat, that is not a question I can answer here, that is an issue for the Chairman and the Commissioners and if the Opposition has a concern, they should go to the Chairman of the Commission. That is not an issue that can be answered in this House under the budget,” Minister Teixeira said in response to the concerns raised by MP Sarabo-Halley.

But MP Sarabo-Halley did not stop there. Determined to get an answer, the Opposition MP enquired whether the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration is in support of the recommendations by CARICOM for GECOM to put in place a new Voters’ List before the country heads to another elections, be it General or Local.

“As a minimum condition of electoral reform, the Team recommends that the urgent need for the total re-registration of all voters in Guyana,” the CARICOM Observer Mission had said approximately three months after the conduct of the March 2020 Election, adding that it was “clear that given the state of the voter registration of the country that Guyana was not adequately prepared for the 2020 poll.”

But the Minister of Parliamentary Affair and Governance said that recommendation was just one of many recommendations not only made by CARICOM but the Organisation of American States (OAS), the Commonwealth Secretariat, and the Carter Centre among other Observer Missions following the highly disputed 2020 Elections.

The Government Chief Whip made it clear that she was not going to commit to a single recommendation, noting that there are many issues to be raised with GECOM, including the need to prevent any attempt at hijacking future elections.

APNU+AFC Member of Parliament, David Patterson

“The issue I think that is before us Mr Chair, is a recognition that there were obviously some issues in the last elections, and if you look at all of the reports that came out, they said that there was an issue with the Voters’ List and so if the Secretariat is preparing for a new Local Government Elections, or any elections at this stage, one of the foundations has to be, who is going to vote at that elections, and so with that in mind, I am asking whether or not the Government is ready and willing to put all hands on deck to ensure that there is a new Voters’ List before we go to an election,” MP Sarabo-Halley reasoned as she put another question to the Minister.

Clearly agitated, the Government’s Chief Whip, in response, said: “Mr Speaker, one of the recommendations from one of the reports says that criminal charges should be brought against people responsible for hijacking the elections. Will the Honourable Member support us on that? Will the Honourable Member support us on that?”

But MP Sarabo-Halley did not back down, as she pressed the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance for an answer on Government’s position on the matter.

“Mr Chairman, I am not GECOM, therefore I cannot speak on behalf of GECOM on a policy matter. I am here as a conduit to deal with the budgetary request of the Guyana Elections Commission that is what I am dealing with,” the Minister responded.

Meanwhile, in response to another question posed by MP Patterson, Minister Teixeira informed the Committee that the decision to procure 500,000 ballot papers was based the 2018 Local Government Elections. It was noted that 80% of Guyana’s voting population votes during Local Government Elections.

Original Post

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The Coalition should not contest any other election without a new voters list.  The padded voters list is what allowed the PPP to rig the 2020 poll. A clean voters list is a prerequisite for fair elections. 

@Totaram posted:

The Coalition should not contest any other election without a new voters list.  The padded voters list is what allowed the PPP to rig the 2020 poll. A clean voters list is a prerequisite for fair elections.

Well, Tota the former government had a chance to prepare a new voters' list! Why didn't they? Incompetence? I'm sick of their antics and I don't even like the present government.with Jagdeo really running things!

So they don't contest! Would the PPP care?

Last edited by shallyv
@shallyv posted:

Well, Tota the former government had a chance to prepare a new voters' list! Why didn't they? Incompetence? I'm sick of their antics and I don't even like the present government.with Jagdeo really running things!

So they don't contest! Would the PPP care?

PPP blocked all efforts to sanitize the voters list .The questions are why ?

@Django posted:

PPP blocked all efforts to sanitize the voters list .The questions are why ?

I think a better question is, why did the coalition government allow that? Do you think.the.PPP government would be interested now in folding.a winning hand? The coalition gov. is a gov. that committed suicide! What were they afraid of? Censure by CARICOM? By fat-ass and big-mouth Motley? Who? The Portuguese PM of a country smaller than Hog Island" The self-righteous Jamaican? Who?

It's a good.thing they lost, however! Now that all the corruption is being aired! We have to be suspicious now and watch this one carefully for their own corruptions! Don't trust ANYONE with the money and the power to steal it!

@Vish M posted:

even with a padded list the Coalition is always 2nd never 1st

YOU KNOW, huh? Even with padding and helping parties that were parties.in name only they only managed to get 2.more seats than the coalition! If they had been paying more attention to the peoples' needs earlier, instead of their own, even Channarass' defection wouldn' t have made any difference in the outcome for the PPP!

Last edited by shallyv

By not funding a new, clean voters list the PPP is actually indicating that a padded list is to their benefit.  The Coalition should not contest any other election with that padded list.  There are ways to get the PPP to play fair.  The PNC knows what they are.  Don't you all know what they are?

It.would be.far better.for them if they stopped.their futile antics and concentrate on any illegal acts.of the reigning PPP! What are they hoping to gain from.their asinine.ploys? Disrespect from.the voters? They already have mine!

Last edited by shallyv
@Totaram posted:

By not funding a new, clean voters list the PPP is actually indicating that a padded list is to their benefit.  The Coalition should not contest any other election with that padded list.  There are ways to get the PPP to play fair.  The PNC knows what they are.  Don't you all know what they are?

So, tell ignorant me, Tota!

Would a new voters list prevent the PNC to refuse to release their SOPs?

Would a new voters list prevent the PNC Going to CCJ to find out 33>32

Would a new voters list prevent the PNC from submittingfake SOPs?

Would a new voters list prevent the PNC CEO to disregard the SOPs and disenfranchised 1/3 of the voters in order to give the PNC victory?

Would a new voters list prevent the PNC Rumjaat/ Cathy Hughes to claim Russians manipulate people mind to vote PPP and deported them without even questioning?

Surprise, David Patterson didn't know that $1.1B has been included in the 2021 National Budget for the hosting of Local Government Elections by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) this year. After giving a complete detail of what the funds were going to be used for, one notable fact is that there is no provision in the $383.1B Budget for the facilitation of House-to-House Registration. The question by the opposition is "why?"

Minister Teixeira said in an attempt to allay the concern of the main opposition, that supplementary funding will be provided if the need arises.

Such bacchanal for one little mistake.  Teixeira deflected a full toss and place the ownership on the Commission to seek the remaining funds.

That lady promised to be fair, now I see that she is dodging blank bullets.

The lady is getting old and it's time for President Ali to make changes in his Cabinet.

@sachin_05 posted:

Would a new voters list prevent the PNC to refuse to release their SOPs?

Would a new voters list prevent the PNC Going to CCJ to find out 33>32

Would a new voters list prevent the PNC from submittingfake SOPs?

Would a new voters list prevent the PNC CEO to disregard the SOPs and disenfranchised 1/3 of the voters in order to give the PNC victory?

Would a new voters list prevent the PNC Rumjaat/ Cathy Hughes to claim Russians manipulate people mind to vote PPP and deported them without even questioning?

Woulda, shoulda, coulda you post something sensible instead of stupid? I sincerely hope so! If you woulda, shoulda, coulda reincarnate!

@shallyv posted:

Woulda, shoulda, coulda you post something sensible instead of stupid? I sincerely hope so! If you woulda, shoulda, coulda reincarnate!

You coulda woulda shoulda be in Berbice mad house.....

@sachin_05 posted:

You coulda woulda shoulda be in Berbice mad house.....

Sure! I'll look after you! I promise! They aren't treating you right? No roti n curry? No dahl? I'll remedy that! I promise! But you.will still have to stay there! For your own safety as well as the safety of others!

@Totaram posted:

The Coalition should not contest any other election without a new voters list.  The padded voters list is what allowed the PPP to rig the 2020 poll. A clean voters list is a prerequisite for fair elections.

Iz yu gun mek dem.doo dah, eh?

@Ramakant-P posted:

Surprise, David Patterson didn't know that $1.1B has been included in the 2021 National Budget for the hosting of Local Government Elections by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) this year. After giving a complete detail of what the funds were going to be used for, one notable fact is that there is no provision in the $383.1B Budget for the facilitation of House-to-House Registration. The question by the opposition is "why?"

Minister Teixeira said in an attempt to allay the concern of the main opposition, that supplementary funding will be provided if the need arises.

Such bacchanal for one little mistake.  Teixeira deflected a full toss and place the ownership on the Commission to seek the remaining funds.

That lady promised to be fair, now I see that she is dodging blank bullets.

The lady is getting old and it's time for President Ali to make changes in his Cabinet.

You want one of your.own kind, don't.you? No putagee! She has served her purpose! Time she is sent to graze in the pasture!

Last edited by shallyv

Doesn't Tabitha look like a.man in.drag?.She/he even.has a moustache! Maybe she/he.forgot to shave.that.point of entry! Well, just  maybe! Must be.that's why she/he was attacked! He asked! She/he refused!

Why all the fuss? The guy only wanted lil bit!

Last edited by shallyv
@Ramakant-P posted:

Surprise, David Patterson didn't know that $1.1B has been included in the 2021 National Budget for the hosting of Local Government Elections by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) this year. After giving a complete detail of what the funds were going to be used for, one notable fact is that there is no provision in the $383.1B Budget for the facilitation of House-to-House Registration. The question by the opposition is "why?"

Minister Teixeira said in an attempt to allay the concern of the main opposition, that supplementary funding will be provided if the need arises.

Such bacchanal for one little mistake.  Teixeira deflected a full toss and place the ownership on the Commission to seek the remaining funds.

That lady promised to be fair, now I see that she is dodging blank bullets.

The lady is getting old and it's time for President Ali to make changes in his Cabinet.

The question is why the PPP does not want to sanitize the list?

@Mitwah posted:

The question is why the PPP does not want to sanitize the list?

Why should they fold a winning hand? Just to please losers? They don't want to recognize the.winners, yet Joe.the poe calls Ali.President! Hahahahahahaha........

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