Voters’ List sanitisation…says dead persons’ names still on voters listWhile the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has expressed some level of satisfaction over the fact that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and various stakeholders are engaged in a process to update and sanitise the list of registered electors, the Party is also calling for due diligence to be exercised.One of the tasks undertaken by GECOM and stakeholders is to cleanse the list of deceased persons, based upon information generated by the General Registrar’s Office (GRO), which is responsible for the issuance of certificates of death. This is something the Party has repeatedly called for.“The PPP calls upon GECOM to exercise greater care and due diligence in their attempts to sanitise the list. We will continue to partner with GECOM and other stakeholders, in a concerted effort, to produce a list of registered electors that is accurate and whose integrity can withstand objective scrutiny,” it stated.The removal of names of persons who have died from the list of registered electors is a responsibility of GECOM and is guided by strict laws and rules, the Party reminded. Only on the basis of a certified list of persons who have died, issued by the GRO, can GECOM remove a person’s name.“It is, therefore, imperative that we emphasise that names cannot be removed from the list on the ground that persons are dead, unless confirmation is received from the GRO,” the PPP asserted.The Party therefore noted that GECOM issued five lists of persons who have died between December 2015, and March 2016. One of the lists, according to them, is of persons who have died but whose names are not on the list of registered electors (that is persons who never registered).The PPP said it has conducted a review of this particular list and has discovered a significant number of names which are in fact on the list of registered electors. “This list is, therefore, not accurate. As a result, the names of deceased persons will continue to be on the list of registered electors,” it pointed out.In March, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo called for an audit to be done on the digitisation of records at the General Registrar’s Office (GRO). His comments were followed by Citizenship Minister Winston Felix, who claimed that the process is transparent and one that does not include partisanship.However, the Opposition Leader feels that there might be attempts to fiddle with the registration process at the GRO using the digitisation of records as the cover for “fictitious names being registered, which could then be used, (seeing) that it is registered with the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).”Jagdeo said he would also urge GECOM to pay careful attention to the issue, because the integrity of that entity’s data base would depend heavily on the source documents being issued by the GRO.Jagdeo said he would also urge GECOM to pay careful attention to the issue, because the integrity of that entity’s data base would depend heavily on the source documents being issued by the GRO.“But (it is) not just GECOM that has to worry, but all the foreign embassies and everyone else; because if people have fake Guyanese documents and some of them are not Guyanese, they pass through here and just get the fake documents for the purpose of registration, they can eventually secure passports and a whole range of other documents,” Jagdeo opined.The Opposition Leader is asserting that the integrity of the disgitisation process is vital.“We in the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) are paying careful attention to this, given what has happened historically — that the heavy padding of the voters list with fictitious names was a norm under previous Government sometime back in our history,” Jagdeo recalled.Earlier, Region One Chairman Brentnol Ashley, had raised concerns about the active participation and involvement of Government Member of Parliament (MP) Richard Allen in the affairs and functions of several State agencies and elected bodies in the region.Ashley complained about MP Allen’s active involvement with the GRO visiting team issuing birth certificates in the region, and had noted that the MP was not employed at any of those agencies.The Regional Chairman went on to disclose that he had even received reports of Allen personally distributing birth certificates in bulk to people in various communities.