September 25, 2016

PPP still fearful of rigged elections as D-day voting approaches

With Local Government Elections (LGE) two weeks away, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) remains deeply concerned about the Guyana Elections Commission’s capability to host free and fair elections.
During a press conference held on Monday, the Party’s General Secretary, Clement Rohee, explained that while the Disciplined Forces would be voting on March 8, the PPP was still awaiting the list of members of the Disciplined Forces which was promised to be delivered some 10 days ago by GECOM.

Rohee noted that with the non-provision of the list of voters, it was extremely difficult for the Party to carry out necessary checks and verification in the Local Authority Areas where members of the Party would be contesting.

He expressed that this deprivation served to undermine confidence in the electoral process and could in the final analysis bring into question the credibility of the results of the elections.
On that note, the General Secretary called on the elections body to conduct a comprehensive briefing session for all contesting parties, where they should be sensitised on logistical and other arrangements related to the upcoming polls.

Concerns were also raised by the Party, in relation to persons without ID cards being allowed to vote.
Moreover, the Party said private residences being used as polling stations should be scrutinised thoroughly after the voting process is over.

Meanwhile, GECOM Chairman, Dr Steve Surujbally recently made it clear that there would be no room for the rigging of the upcoming LGE.

Addressing a small gathering of candidates, voters and members of the diplomatic corps at the launching of the Guyana National Youth Council (GNYC) “Vote like a boss” campaign, Dr Surujbally reaffirmed that measures were in place to make elections “unriggable”.

“For you to rig an election, it would have to be a great and grand conspiracy. Everybody would have to be participating. Just look at a polling station, there is the presiding officer, the deputy presiding officer, clerks, party agents… we’re talking about 80 people at least, are they all involved in the skulduggery? I don’t think so… it is highly impossible,” he continued.

The GECOM Chairman said the Commission has systems in place for everything.
“We have manuals for everything. With that sort of background and content, we can go to International Organisation of Standardisation (ISO)’s certification as one of the electoral management bodies in this hemisphere and the Caribbean that is well run, irrespective of what you might be hearing,” Dr Surujbally said.

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