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After requesting meeting with GECOM, APNU fails to attend

Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton

The A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) has been pushing for a meeting with the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) for some time, but on Tuesday, the party was a no-show.

GECOM Commissioner Sase Gunraj revealed on his social media page that Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton and his delegation did not attend a scheduled meeting on Tuesday. In an interview with this publication, GECOM Public Relations Officer Yolanda Ward confirmed that a virtual meeting had been scheduled for 13:00h on Tuesday.

“Today (Tuesday) when checks were made so that we could send the login details to the representatives, they informed that apparently there was some logistical error on their part and the letter was not received,” Ward said.

When asked for an update on the meeting during a virtual press conference on Tuesday, the Opposition Leader had said that GECOM had requested specifics on what he wanted to meet them about. According to him, APNU was in the process of complying with this request.

While Ward acknowledged that GECOM had requested specifics on the meeting, she said that after not receiving any response from Norton, GECOM had decided to go ahead with the meeting anyway. She said that GECOM then proceeded to send another letter with details on the meeting, late last week.

“There was a subsequent letter that was sent, informing that the Commission had agreed to meet with them even though we had not received a response… and that is the letter that they indicated there might have been some logistical errors internally and it might not have reached the designated person. As a result of that, there was a request for the meeting to be rescheduled.”

It is expected that APNU wants to meet to discuss its concerns about a clean voters’ list and possibly even the Revised List of Electors that is necessary for the conduct of Local Government Elections (LGE), which is scheduled for next year.

Norton has been vocal at successive press conferences about these issues and on Monday, members of the coalition party were seen involved in small protests at various GECOM regional offices, repeating his calls.

In fact, GECOM had cause to debunk what it termed as misinformation being peddled by the protesters, who accused GECOM, among other things, of not publishing a Register of Voters within the statutory timeframe and not sanitising the list.

GECOM released a statement on Tuesday making reference to the protests. According to the electoral agency, claims that the Register of Voters is overdue is nothing more than misinformation, since GECOM is well within the timeframe.

Already, they have posted the Revised List of Electors in the public domain, in accordance with the regulations. GECOM also noted that the Register of Voters will be extracted on November 26, 2022, and distributed to Returning Officers countrywide.

According to GECOM, opening of the registers for public scrutiny is scheduled to start on December 1. They therefore made it clear the protesters are being misleading.

When it comes to calls for a clean voters’ list, GECOM reminded that Guyanese citizens or commonwealth citizens domiciled in Guyana, cannot be removed from the list unless through death reports or Claims and Objections. GECOM went on to urge persons to stop peddling misinformation, lest it affects voters’ confidence.

GECOM has already designated December 12, 2022, as nomination day for the upcoming LGE, which are set to be held next year March.

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APNU, GECOM meeting rescheduled for next Tuesday

Commissioner for the government’s side at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Sase Gunraj has expressed his disappointment with the Opposition after the A Partnership for National Unity was a no-show for a meeting.

When contacted on Wednesday, Commissioner Gunraj told Guyana Standard that it was the Leader of the Opposition, Aubrey Norton who requested a meeting be held with GECOM regarding a number of issues.

The Commissioner claimed that GECOM requested from the Opposition a correspondence listing the issues that were to be discussed. According to Gunraj, the election body did not receive this document.

“Yesterday afternoon we were informed that they had no notice of the meeting and that they had some internal issue or maybe a miscommunication and as such the meeting was canceled,”Commissioner Gunraj said.

He further noted that another meeting was rescheduled for next Tuesday with the Opposition. Commissioner Gunraj said that while the meeting has been rescheduled, there has been no confirmation from the Opposition.

The Commissioner however registered his disappointment with what he claimed was a “blatant (act of) disrespect” towards the election body.

“When someone makes an appointment at my law office and they don’t turn up I believe it is disrespectful, especially without a legitimate excuse. I don’t think we received a proper excuse. Thankfully, it was a statutory meeting so we had other things to discuss,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Public Relations Officer of APNU Shaneika Haynes explained to Guyana Standard that the Opposition received a letter confirming the meeting was to be had but the document was not received on time.

“The letter (from GECOM) never made it in time to the Office of the Chairman (APNU), hence we weren’t aware of the scheduled meeting. When we were made aware of the timings, a call was made immediately to GECOM and a date was rescheduled for the meeting,” Haynes said.

She noted that the Opposition is now awaiting an official timing from GECOM for the meeting scheduled for next Tuesday.

Yesterday, during the party’s weekly press conference, Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton said GECOM had requested specifics on the issues that were to be raised at the upcoming meeting. He told the press that the party was in the process of complying with this request.


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