September 26, 2016

Ballot papers arrive for March 18 polls

LGE 2016

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has confirmed the arrival of all the ballot papers for Local Government Elections (LGE), which is scheduled to be held in two weeks time.
GECOM’s Public Relation Officer (PRO) Tamara Rodney confirmed to Guyana Times that the sensitive material arrived in Guyana on Monday evening. Over 16 pallets of material were nestled in GECOM’s compound.
At its last meeting with the press in early February, GECOM had indicated that it had been making rigid efforts to get all of Guyana streamlined for the upcoming LGE.
The preparation includes the training of staff to work on elections day across the 71 Local Authority Areas, and the continued efforts to expand the voter’s education programme.
Local Government Elections has not been conducted in almost 22 years – the last being held in 1994. The GECOM team said it has been working tirelessly to see a smooth and transparent exercise come March 18.
GECOM’s Chairman, Dr Steve Surujbally said above all the points relative to the voters’ education programme, the electorate must be cognisant of one fact. “You are voting for a person whom you feel will best represent your interest. That has to be the objective more than anything else. Once you stick with that, everything else is adjunctive are peripheral to that main point”.
Meanwhile, GECOM’s CEO Keith Lowenfield said the Commission has so far been able to satisfy all the requirements set out by law for the holding of LGE.
“We began and concluded our exercise of ensuring our register of voters was prepared and certified. According to Lowenfield, GECOM has in its possession, a total of 523,831 electors on its certified electors list. However, even with this number, all of Guyana will not be involved in the Local Authority Election process.
These are called the “no contest” areas. In four Local Authority Areas across Guyana, there is no contest, meaning only one particular political party or group has indicated its interest in participating in the LGE. These include the Crabwood Creek (CWC), Black Bush Polder (BBP), Kentyre Borlam and the Mocha Arcadia Neighbourhood Democratic Council.
Added to the Local Authorities Areas, out of the 508 Constituencies, 149 have been declared no contest areas. However, while persons will be voting in the Proportional Representation (PR), they will not be participating in the First-Past-the-Post system. Lowenfield said the Commission has addressed the issue, since it has implications for the production of the ballot papers in those areas.

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