Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo today lashed out at the Guyana Elections Commission and its Chairman over the letter to President indicating to him that elections could be held by late November.
Jagdeo said it is clear that the letter was meant to give the President and his Government an excuse to further delay elections, which he believes could have been held by March 21.
At his weekly press conference, Mr. Jagdeo said he finds it strange that the letter was dispatched two days before the March 21 deadline for hosting of elections.
The Opposition Leader described the letter as “carefully contrived”, adding that in his view, it is meant “to give President granger an excuse and an out to say it is not me, it is GECOM”.
Jagdeo said the inclusion of house to house registration in the latest GECOM timeline is something that will not receive the support of his party.
He said the PPP will not accept house to house registration as part of the elections preparation process, since he is convinced that it is being used as an excuse and it is an excuse that will not enhance transparency of the elections or voters rights.
“Without house-to-house registration, elections could be held in a short period…all you have to do is extend the validity of this list and then have the elections within two months or so”, he said.
Jagdeo believes that there is now a conspiracy by the Government nominated Commissioners at GECOM to use house-to-house registration as an excuse to push the deadline for elections to the end of the year.
In the letter to the President, the GECOM Chairman spoke about the elections preparations, indicating that the Commission will need $3.5 Billion to prepare and host the elections.
Mr. Jagdeo said that money would not be needed if house-to-house registration does not take place. He said GECOM should have enough money in its coffers from the budget to allow the hosting of elections without house-to-house registration.
“This letter was intended to help the Government”, Jagdeo said, as he also told reporters that the Commission appears to be working on the instructions of the Government.
The Opposition nominated members of the Guyana Elections Commission complained yesterday that they were not consulted by the Chairman on the letter he dispatched to the President. They had walked out of the previous three meetings of the Commission.
President Granger had invited the Opposition Leader to join him in a meeting with the Guyana Elections Commission. Jagdeo turned down that invitation.
The President and a Government team later met with GECOM and it was following that meeting, the President indicated that he was not properly guided by GECOM about its readiness for elections.
Late last week, the President wrote the Commission requesting a timeline and information about the funds that will be needed for the hosting of elections.
It was that request that led to the Tuesday letter to the President by the GECOM Chairman.