September 24, 2016

Calm atmosphere prevails as Essequibians casts their votes

– low voter turnout, first-time voters share experience

By Indrawattie Natram

As voters across the country participate in the much anticipated Local Government Elections (LGE), those in Essequibo Coast, Region Two (Pomeroon/Supenaam), turned up and casted their votes, noting that the process was simple and the accomplishment swift.
For first-time voters their obvious interest was hyped as most turned up at the open of polls at 06:00h to cast their votes.
On the Essequibo Coast, ballots were transported at 03:00h to the various polling stations escorted by representatives from the contesting parties within the district.

First-time LGE voter Parmanand Singh

First-time LGE voter Parmanand Singh

Poor voter turnout
While the few that voted showed excitement to take part in the process, there was a disappointing turnout at the polls on the Essequibo Coast. At the opening of polls there were no more than a handful of persons at many polling stations. As the day progressed, political parties representatives were transporting persons to vote at the various polling stations.
Meanwhile, first-time voters were very optimistic and related that they “voted like a boss.” According to Amitab Sookdeo who voted in the Annandale/Riverstown district, he was very eager to vote and was looking forward to March 18 with enthusiasm. Sookdeo said the process was very smooth and straightforward.

A family happily exercised their franchise

A family happily exercised their franchise

Joining him, another first-timer, Naresh Lall said he was somewhat “nervous” but with the correct guidance from the Guyana Elections Commission (Gecom) staff he was able to vote easily.

Early birds
Another young voter Nikita Joseph said she was at her polling station as early as 05:00h. Joseph said she confidently went through the process which she described as “easy and a new experience.”
At Golden Fleece polling station voters showed up as early as 04:00h.
Elderly Ishardai Ramnarine, 73, who was accompanied by her husband and her walking stick to the polling station, said she was happy to have exercised her democratic right.  She said she was excited about the elections.
Another pensioner, Elsie, 80, who wheel-chaired her way to her Suddie Polling station said she knew her vote was important and as so she braved the weather to cast her vote.
Elsie said she voted at the last LGE in 1994 so she knew what she had to do.
Up to midday, the atmosphere was very calm with a meagre amount filtering into the polling stations.
The voter turnout on the Essequibo Coast was described by many as “disappointing” and “low”.

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