The budgetary provision of $3.5 billion for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has been approved by Parliamentary Committee of Supply.
Last year, the Elections Commission had received $5.2 billion.
While GECOM’s allocation was decreased this year, a substantial amount of money was set aside in the budget for the maintenance of building infrastructure as well as the procurement of office supplies, among others.
Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Gail Teixeira explained that the money deducted from GECOM’s budget was the provisions made for local government elections in 2023, noting that the provision is not necessary given that Guyana will not be hosting elections in 2024.
However, on the topic of wages and salaries, the Minister was quizzed by Opposition Parliamentarian Volda Lawrence.
In response, Minister Teixeira reiterated that the larger sum caters for the 6.5% salary increase.
“I am advised that the increase is due to the 6.5 per cent increase in salaries and also the gratuity that’s paid annually to the staff. Some peoples’ six months would cross over into 2024 from 2023. So, although the staff maintenance of those who are permanent staff are paid as you know temporary staff is paid separately and not under this.”
Further, Teixeira pointed out that there is no allocation for the procurement of biometric equipment, since the Commission has made no decision on whether it will use biometrics- be it fingerprint scanning or otherwise – in elections.