September 28, 2016

GECOM, NDCs reaffirm preparedness

By Shemuel Fanfair

Local Government Elections (LGEs) are just days away and a number of stakeholders have given assurances

From left: GECOM’s PRO Tamara Rodney; Chairman, Dr Steve Surujbally; CEO Keith Lowenfield and Deputy CEO Vishnu Persaud

From left: GECOM’s PRO Tamara Rodney; Chairman, Dr Steve Surujbally; CEO Keith Lowenfield and Deputy CEO Vishnu Persaud

that systems are in place to ensure the polls go off without a hitch.
Speaking with Guyana Times Monday, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Tamara Rodney said measures are in place to ensure the transparency of the process.
“Everything is pretty much on schedule. With regards to security all of our operations are being done in the presence of the officers of the Guyana Police Force along with party agents. Every single thing is done with scrutiny and transparency with regards to the elections for March 18,” the PRO assured.
She noted that GECOM has undertaken to carry out the process in accordance with the policy that was approved by commissioners, that is, “where the ballots are transported in the presence of agents – they are all in one vehicle as well as the police.”
In terms of voter education programmes, the PRO explained some of many steps GECOM has taken to familiarise the public with this elections process.
“We have ads in the newspapers… the street campaigns where we have been going around to several communities in Guyana; we are wrapping that up and tomorrow we are going to Georgetown; we have different publications prepared for the public, which entails an animated sketch of the voting process with the ballot specimen,” the PRO posited.
This publication also contacted some Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) offices where it was confirmed that polling stations have been earmarked and selected for constituents to cast their ballots.
Best-Klien Pouderoyen NDC incumbent Chairman, Omesh Balram told Guyana Times that everything is “coming up fine” in his district. He noted that there will be 30 polling stations within the area’s 10 constituencies on election’s day.
Works Chairman for Herstelling-Little Diamond NDC, Wilfred Hassan related that the area has 15 polling stations and opined the majority of residents are aware of the voting process.
“All of the polling stations are prepared as GECOM has prepared them. They are using some private residences, health centres and schools because this elections is different from national elections. All of the political parties have been going about holding meetings around the area sensitising people on how to vote. From what I’ve observed, about 80% of residents understand how they have to vote.”
Similarly, incumbent NDC Chairman of Toevlugt-Patentia Roy Bennett said all is set in his district.
“We are ready, everything is in place. We have 21 polling places in the community, some are private residences some are public places.”
Bennett also noted that four polling places had to be shifted due to either lack of water or toilet facilities. He stated that his party, the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) has been engaging in door-to-door activities encouraging and informing constituency members about casting their ballots.
Jaideo Sookho, the incumbent NDC Chairman of Mora/Parika stated that his party, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) as well as the APNU/AFC have engaged members in his area’s 8 constituencies. He however opined that GECOM should have done more voter education programmes as many constituents are still unsure of the voting process.
He also noted that one of the polling places was moved after his party complained that one of the private residences was that of an opposing candidate.
Guyanese are voting in these elections for the first time since 1994.

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