The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is contending that declaring March 18 a national holiday could help facilitate large voter turnout at the Local Government Elections (LGE).
The Party’s General Secretary, Clement Rohee, said the Party observed there was a very low voter turnout on Tuesday when the Disciplined Forces cast their ballots. This was one of the reasons the Party has been calling for Government to declare March 18 a national holiday.
“The whole idea behind declaring that day a national holiday is not for people to jump up and sport, but… people work outside of their constituencies, and therefore, if they are given a national holiday, it means that they can vote early or late.. it gives them the flexibility,” he told reporters.
Putting to rest the concerns raised by sections of society and the PPP, Government on Wednesday confirmed that March 18 will not be made a public holiday to facilitate Local Government Elections.
Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman told a post-Cabinet media conference on Wednesday that there was no indication that LGE day will be declared a national holiday.
He said LGEs are not known to be treated with the same level of importance as national elections, so there was no need for a national holiday.
However, Rohee said the bottom line was to make election day convenient for all Guyanese to exercise their franchise.
“Sometimes you have this huge buildup as well around the polling station. So the whole idea as well is to make it more convenient to the voter, to go at their leisure… we said that you (Government) were the one that was pressuring for Local Government Elections and you were the one that were saying that people were excited about Local Government Elections.. And now you are throwing a damp rag on it,” he said.
According to the General Secretary, while the PPP was in Government, it had always declared national holidays on Election Day. He said if the current Administration does not want to follow suit, then that is absolutely ok.