In a democracy, voters should choose their leaders; leaders shouldn’t choose their voters.
In what has become a very familiar exercise, yesterday the democratic process was ground to a halt as Opposition-appointed members of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) blocked actions to ensure all eligible Guyanese voters can participate in the upcoming election.
Opposition-appointed members Sase Gunraj and Robeson Benn staged yet another walkout of the GECOM meeting, holding our democracy hostage to the whims of the People's Progressive Party-Civic (PPP/C) alliance. According to the Guyana Chronicle, the walkout followed an underhanded attempt by former Public Works Minister Benn to “bulldoze his way through the meeting” and derail discussion about voter registration.
This Statutory Meeting of GECOM came on a very important date - on April 30, 2019, the old voters list officially expired, which indisputably triggers house-to-house registration, as required in the Constitution.
This latest move by Opposition-appointed GECOM commissioners seeks to violate the voting rights of more than 7,000 Guyanese who turned 18, while also keeping the current list bloated with more than 85,000 invalid voters.
Meanwhile, the third opposition Commissioner Bibi Shadick, didn’t even show up to Tuesday’s meeting. Why? Unlike Benn and Gunraj, she openly says she will not participate in any GECOM meeting that proceeds with house-to-house registration. How much more cynical can our politics get?
No matter who you vote for or which party you support, this kind of attack on our democracy must not ever be tolerated. All voting-age Guyanese are granted equal rights under the Constitution, and these attempts to undermine the law must be stopped. Make your voice heard and sign our petition at www.fairelections.gy.