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With EU experts here, Opposition plans to make case for clean voters list, use of biometrics

By: Shemar Alleyne 

Shemar_alleyne@hgptv.com 

The European Union’s (EU) 2020 Election Observer Mission (EOM) follow-up team is in Guyana, and the Opposition plans to push for a clean voters list and use biometrics for voting. 

During the party’s weekly press conference on Thursday, Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Shurwayne Holder said that the Coalition welcomes the team and is ready to meet with them to advance the agenda on electoral reforms. 

“We remain skeptical that the current photo identification and verification process can reduce the risk of fraud inherent in a bloated voters list. We also intend to demonstrate where the recent amendments to ROPA are cosmetic and ineffectual,” Holder noted. 

On Tuesday, EU Ambassador to Guyana René van Nes announced at the Europe Day celebrations that the EOM follow-up team is in Guyana to discuss electoral reforms ahead of the general elections in 2025. 

The Parliamentarian contends that electoral reforms in Guyana have become increasingly necessary as the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) continues to shirk its constitutional responsibility to deliver credible elections and the public’s confidence in elections continues to erode.

“Preparations for the 2023 LGE have amply demonstrated that the electoral process is still prone to political manipulation, corruption, and fraud. They have further exposed an elections commission that has been politically hijacked, is poorly chaired, is administratively unfit, and is unaccountable to the people,” he posited. 

Following the 2020 General and Regional Elections, the EU EOM team made 26 recommendations. Holder said that the Opposition fully supports their objectives and believes that if implemented in good faith, they could greatly improve elections in Guyana.

Just after the 2020 controversial elections, most of the international election observers called for urgent electoral reform.

The Government recently announced that it was moving ahead with updated elections legislation. There have been calls for wider consultations on electoral reform plans.

Also, the Vice President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, will be visiting Guyana in June.

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