September 30, 2016

Lindeners vote in historic LGE

– process dubbed as “smooth” by many

BY UTAMU BELLE

Lindeners on Friday joined with the rest of the country in exercising their democratic right to vote at the Local Government Elections (LGEs).
Checks around the community at a number of polling places shortly after the polls opened at 6:00h revealed few trickling in to cast their ballots. Persons of varying ages were involved in the voting process, however, the elderly appeared to be more involved.
Political Parties and Voluntary Groups were among those also seen voting and observing the process.

Residents wait their turn to check for their names on the list

Residents wait their turn to check for their names on the list

Sean Arthur, a young man in his 20s, explained how happy he was to be given the opportunity to vote for the first time, noting too that the process was a very smooth one, which he enjoyed and fully understood.
“It was smooth, quick. I had fun with it. For the General Elections I would normally spend more time though. I would come out since before 6 to avoid the lines but today wasn’t that sort of thing. I just came at the normal time and it was just in, out, and that was it”, he related.
Arthur said he was fully educated on the process due to television ads and neighbourhood campaigns.
There were few instances of minor hiccups as some who turned out to vote did not find their names on the list. A man who turned up at the Wisroc Nursery polling place complained of not finding his name on the Official List of Electors (OLE), which was posted outside the building.
He explained to this newspaper that he voted at the same location over the years for the General Elections but he had difficulty in understanding this, however he was told by GECOM to wait a while, so they could double-check.
“I got me ID card everything, but they tell me that me name ain’t on that list. They telling me hold on but I gon go home cause I ain’t able run all about”, he exclaimed.
Meanwhile, the man’s son, who had accompanied him, explained too that his father would usually vote at the same location. On the contrary however, he voted at the location without any delays. He noted that the process was a simple one, regarding it with similarities to General and Regional Elections.
“It was normal and simple. I didn’t have no problems because I come early and everything go through normal… anytime voting come round again I gon vote. Is my rights”, he said.
This newspaper caught up with A Partnership for National Unity/ Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) Constituency 8 candidate Derron John soon after he casted his vote and he expressed satisfaction with the process. John indicated he is a first time LGE voter and he was the second person to cast his vote at the Wisroc Nursery polling station. He stated his belief in the Coalition securing maximum votes, especially at that particular polling station.
“I see a number of persons have not yet come out, but we are going to encourage them to come out by providing transportation to assist in the process”, he said.
Joel Stewart who voted at the Wisburg Primary also explained that the process was quite simple.
APNU Member of Parliament Jermaine Figueira said he was happy with the process, more so since he was a first-time voter.
“This is the first time a lot of people are participating in Local Government Elections as this was denied since 22 years ago. I too was also denied the opportunity in my teens, my twenties and now I’m in my thirties I feel happy that I can make a contribution in determining who the representative is going to be for my Constituency. That is real power to the people to be given the choice to elect their community representatives”, he noted.
Elizabeth Gulliver, 57, explained that it was the first time she was afforded the opportunity to vote at LGEs, noting that she encountered no problems and was “comfortable” with how the process was executed. She recalled that the process of electing a Mayor was “quite different” years ago.
Linden 2025 Candidate Denton Osborne observed: “The voting process was very simple, it was very smooth this morning. Of course it started out really slow. Throughout the country, we heard experts and other Government Officials saying that they expect, maybe a low turn-out because Local Government Elections does not generate the same kind of excitement as the General and Regional Elections, but we, Linden 2025 are very hopeful that we will have a voice.”
Ambassadors For Progress Norris King was also spotted observing the process at the Linden Foundation Secondary Polling Station.
While some Lindeners remained hopeful for the return of Local Democracy and exercised their right to vote, others opted not to do so for various reasons, which some outlined to Guyana Times.
Some complained of not being properly informed on the process, explaining that they did not know how to vote and what the LGE process entailed. Others expressed no confidence in prospective candidates and as such refused to be involved in the voting process.

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