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Guyana’s electoral system under “stranglehold” of a few
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Electoral Reform Group condemns East Coast looting
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A review of the 2020 elections is warranted and one expects GECOM to lead the process.
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Allow Civil Society and GECOM to roll out consultations on Guyana’s first genuine referendum on electoral reform
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Civil society group believes probe into 2020 elections necessary for proper reform
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Press Release- 6th January, 2022
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Electoral Reform Group says splitting up Region 4 is unjustified, provocative.
20 December 2021
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ERG will work with all interested citizens in 2021 to lay ground for election we can be proud of in 2025
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The current draft ROPA amendments reflect only the interest of government and the PPP/C
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Reform group calls for ‘simplifying’ of proposed elections law amendments.
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Electoral Reform Group says Guyanese need more time for reform process
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The draft amendment essentially entrenches a bad electoral system
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Press Release- 1st November, 2021
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The work of the ERG is to give citizens the opportunity to choose our electoral system
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Guyana needs a broad-based mechanism to drive national consensus on electoralreforms
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All stakeholders should be involved from inception of electoral reform process
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Electoral Reform
12 December 2020
3 min read
We see electoral reform as entry point to broader reforms

We see electoral reform as entry point to broader reforms

This was first published as a letter to the editor of Stabroek News on December 12, 2020.

The Electoral Reform Group (ERG), a citizen-based initiative, was launched last weekend.

The response to the launch demonstrated the interest of Guyanese, both at home and abroad, to support concerted efforts that improve our electoral system and processes.

In addition to enthusiasm and encouragement for our effort, over a hundred substantive questions and comments were received, for which we are grateful.

While we attempted to anticipate most of the substantive issues via our launch presentations (which can be viewed on our FaceBook page), we appreciate that not everyone can access this information.

As such we are thankful, Editor, for your assistance in sharing information about ERG that would help fellow Guyanese to understand more about the group and its plans.

Firstly, almost a dozen persons sought clarification on ERG’s thinking as regards electoral reform, in context of the need for broader constitutional and governance reform.

There is no doubt that Guyana needs constitutional and governance reform. However, ERG sees electoral reform as the entry point that leads to broader reforms. We contend that fixing the electoral system is a vital step to enabling other institutional improvements because, ultimately, constitutional and governance reforms must be supported by elected representatives. A reformed electoral process will incentivise elected representatives differently and, we believe, set the stage for strengthening governance and the constitution over the long term.

Of course, electoral reform and constitutional reform are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, legislating for electoral reform will inevitably require constitutional changes, for example as regards the electoral system or the design of GECOM (both of which are enshrined in Guyana’s constitution).

Additionally, dozens of citizens expressed despair at the prospects of the political leadership embracing the needed changes.

We cannot deny this pessimism. One citizen said, for example, “Political parties are dedicated to staying in power and are historically not the best engine of change that may impact their own power!”

Notwithstanding the embarrassment caused by our 5-month electoral ordeal, ERG observed many signs in 2020 that Guyanese may now be more awake to the magnitude of the electoral problem facing us.

For example, it was evident that youths (including those from political parties), civil society, the media, and the diaspora worked hard to end the political bickering and gamesmanship. The role of the judiciary is also noteworthy.

The two major parties have made public commitments to improving future elections. President Ali, for example, at his inauguration and in context of the 2020 elections said, “we will pursue the necessary reforms to make our democracy stronger and our electoral process more transparent.”

For his part, Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Joseph Harmon, during the budget debate in September, is reported as highlighting “the need for reform of the country’s electoral laws and consequently the elections management body – the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM)” and the willingness of the opposition to work with the government on constitutional and electoral reform. (https://newsroom.gy/2020/09/19/harmon-says-opposition-stands-ready-to-work-with-govt-on-constitutional-electoral-reform/)

As such, ERG sees Guyana’s electoral reform glass as being more than half full. We will work with all interested citizens, including the political parties, to lay the ground in 2021 for an election that we can all be proud of come 2025.

Guyanese can expect ERG to continue with these public discussions, as we deepen a national dialogue on electoral reform. We urge the public to continue sharing thoughts and to become an ERG member via our Facebook page or e-mail at erg@electoralreformgy.org.

Yours for Guyana,

Alfred Bhulai

David Singh

Desmond Thomas

Devta Ramroop

Diana Cruickshank

Heetasmin Singh

Kerry Anne Cort-Kansinally

Lawrence Lachmansingh

Maria Diaz-James

Mike James

Rene Edwards

Rory Fraser

Sara Bharrat