Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chairman, Dr. Steve Surujbally on Thursday called on political parties to stop fuelling ethnic division as he disclosed that a request was made by one party for the Commission to specify the ethnicity of some 12,000 Guyanese who worked during the 2015 general elections.
Dr. Surujbally explained he may be inclined to believe that the opposition People’s Progressive Party is attempting to embarrass the Commission, as he responded to the Party’s pronouncement following a recent meeting.
He claimed that Party General Secretary Clement Rohee had made a request for GECOM to release the ethnicity of all the persons it employed during the 2015 elections.
According to the Chairman, Rohee felt that there was serious ethnic imbalance among GECOM’s employees.
He enquired whether GECOM had blacklisted anyone who would have performed questionably while working with the Commission during past elections.
“We do not employ Afro – Guyanese, we do not employ Indo – Guyanese, we employ Guyanese,” the GECOM Chairman said.
He added as far as he is aware the concern about ethnicity is a non issue at the Commission.
“Let us stop this ethnicity thing,” he lamented.
Following the meeting, Rohee had stated that the party remains at odds with GECOM over several issues regarding preparation for Local Government Elections.
According to Rohee, Dr. Surujbally and Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, displayed a defensive attitude throughout the meeting and were evasive when faced with questions.
But the CEO and Chairman are not too pleased with Rohee’s assessment and refuted those claims.
Dr. Surujbally said GECOM will remain the whipping horse, but at the same time said he believes it was difficult to understand the PPP’s “attacks.”
He said the Commission had bent over backwards to accommodate the meeting which was requested the very day and then responded to all questions asked.
That aside, the Commissions on November 9, commenced its Claims and Objection exercise which will end on December 13.
This period will allow for the registration of new voters in all local authority areas.
Persons who will be 18 years and older by February 29, 2016 and who are Guyanese citizens, are being encouraged to get registered.
Persons can also request transfers and name change and corrections. Already there has been 558 applications for new registration and 103 applications for transfers. There has also been 192 applications for change/corrections.
GECOM is gearing up to host local elections early next year.