As March 18, 2016, the day when most of Guyana’s 523,831 eligible voters are expected to cast their ballots in the first Local Government Elections (LGE) in more than two decades, the two major political parties, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) and the ruling coalition the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) are intensifying their campaigns.
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo during an LGE public meeting in Region One
The two parties are fanning out across the 71 Local Authority Areas (LAA), seeking to convince the electorate.
PPP/C, led by Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo, has been for the past few months meeting with residents across the country as it seeks to achieve its goal of winning most of the 62 Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) and the nine Municipalities.
During this past week, PPP/C members have been meeting with residents in Region One (Barima-Waini), Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) and Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo).
There was also a series of meetings in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) and Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).
A delegation from the party, headed by Jagdeo, is expected in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) on Friday.
Jagdeo has been lamenting the need for a strong voter turnout, especially of his party’s supporters so that the PPP/C can take control of most of the 71 LAAs.
This, he pointed out, will ensure that the APNU/AFC Central Government is kept in check. He noted that it is only work in the field that will ensure a high voter turnout and ultimately victory for the PPP/C.
Jagdeo also was stressing the need for his party’s candidates when elected, to remain humble servants of the people who would have elected them.
“They can’t chase people away who go to their offices and complain. They have to explain to them some of these issues in their NDCs. If they don’t have money to do something, they have to hold the shoulders of their comrades and say ‘I can’t do this, we can’t do this, we don’t have money,” Jagdeo stated.
Meanwhile, the APNU/AFC has been conducting a relatively low-key campaign leading-up to the elections.
The coalition held a number of community meetings and according to information is running a vigorous house-to-house campaign, where its candidates are having one-on-one discussions with residents.
The coalition is expected to culminate its campaign with a “grand rally” on March 16 at the Well Site, Roxanne Burnham Gardens, Georgetown, where President David Granger is expected to deliver the feature address.
Apart from the PPP/C and the APNU/AFC, there are a number of community groups and independent candidates contesting the March 18 elections, being held for the first time since 1994.
Already on Tuesday members of the Disciplined Services cast their ballots.