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Questions that GECOM, SC Marcus must answer

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first_imgDear Editor,Guyana is awaiting clear and definitive directions, so that there can be no ambiguity, as it relates to elections 2019. I am sure that I am not the only Guyanese that was utterly confused, perplexed and flummoxed at the utterings of Senior Counsel Stanley Marcus on June 24, 2019, during the hearing of the consequential orders at the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in relations to the challenges to the No-Confidence Motion (NCM) and the case challenging the unilateral appointment of the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).The Christmas gift that GECOM plans to offer the people of Guyana is a voters’ list. Editor, there is need for some explanation here.Maybe GECOM or Mr Marcus can provide answers to the following questions:1.  Since the decision to retain Mr Marcus as counsel for GECOM was not made at a duly constituted statutory meeting, who retained him and who gave him the directions that he so empathically and forcefully stated to the Justices of the CCJ on Monday last?2.  GECOM has a legal counsel in its employ, Excellence Dazzell, whose legal opinion is in the public domain. That opinion clearly states, with references to specific and relevant sections of the law, that there is absolutely no need for House-to-House registration, but rather, a review and update of last valid voters’ list. This position, by way of documentation, is also known by all GECOM Commissioners. This begs the question: is Mr Marcus the lawyer for GECOM or the Government-nominated Commissioner of GECOM?3.  Is it coincidental that GECOM’s position at the CCJ is almost identical to the Government’s position, as well as the positions of the few APNU/AFC supporters who were protesting GECOM on Friday, June 22, 2019, calling for House-to-House registration?4.  Official correspondence to the President from GECOM stated that elections was possible by November 2019. When did this position change?  When was the change from November 2019 to December 25 made? If a list would be ready by then, when would GECOM be actually ready to conduct elections if affirmative action is not taken?5.  Furthermore, I am sure all Guyanese are wondering how much it cost taxpayers to retain Mr Marcus.Editor, it is my humble view that once good faith prevails and all our honourable men and women rise to the challenge, elections can be held within 90 days. The President needs to, by proclamation, name a date for elections and dissolve the Parliament. Everything else would fall into play.What is required is a brief period of claims and objections to allow for additions and removals of those who ought to be on the list and those who ought not to be on the list. The current list, which validly expired April 30, 2019, should be deemed the preliminary list of electors and a process, which allows for intense vetting by all political parties and even civil society groups, should commence immediately. This revised and updated list will be the Official List of Electors. It is my considered opinion that all of the above can be executed within a 30 days period or maybe six weeks maximum.Nomination day is at least 32 days before Election Day, in accordance with the law. During this period, training of elections day staff and procurement of material necessary to conduct the elections can be done simultaneously. It was done before.Measures to strengthen scrutiny on elections day, to ensure that only eligible voters participate, can be discussed and agreed upon. A rigorous and well rolled out public relations campaign on voters education from GECOM should follow. GECOM has the staff, the budget, and the institutional capacity to facilitate the same.Credible, free and fair elections is contemplated in our Constitution to be delivered within 90 days.Sincerely,Bishop Juan AEdghill,PPP/C MPlast_img read more