September 29, 2016

GECOM silent on final results

Two days following the holding of the much-anticipated and historic Local Government Elections (LGE), the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has not yet been able to release the official results.

GECOM's PRO Tamara Rodney, Chairman Dr Steve Surujballi and CEO Keith Lowenfield

GECOM’s PRO Tamara Rodney, Chairman Dr Steve Surujballi and CEO Keith Lowenfield

GECOM Public Relations Officer (PRO) Tamara Rodney on Sunday had given media houses the go-ahead to contact Returning Officers (ROs) for the various constituencies to seek out the results from them. She provided the media with the personal cellular phone contact for those ROs, but an hour later the Commission contacted the media asking it to hold on this.
“I know I would have given you the ROs’ numbers to expedite the information flow on LGE, but kindly put a hold on calls to these numbers since I will provide a summary of the results,” the PRO said in an email at 15:53h. However, up to press time, the information was not forthcoming. Contacted again the PRO said it was not possible at the time to provide the information. The results are expected to be released today.
But, while GECOM has not officially announced results, the Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has already claimed it has won a landslide victory in the elections.
On Sunday, the Party said votes won in the LGE in Barima-Waini (Region One) are equal to 13 seats as opposed to the 11 seats won by the coalition Government of A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC). According to the Party, it has won in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) some 86 seats, while the coalition has won 20. In Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), the Party said it won 182 seats with the coalition trailing with 66. It claims a 159-seat victory in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) with the coalition Government following with 126 seats. In the Mahaica-Berbice (Region Five) area, the Opposition claims a 79-seat win over Government’s 69 seats, while in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), the PPP/C said it has recorded a  victory of 224 seats over the 72  garnered by Government. However, over in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), the Opposition said it won a mere two seats compared to the coalition’s seats, while in Region Nine (Upper Takutu- Upper Essequibo), the coalition led with seven and the Opposition had three. In Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice), the Opposition lost outright, securing no seats, while Government led the way with 21. In total, the Opposition said it has some 748 seats with nine Regions, while Government has 406.
LGE 2016 came after 22 years, with the current Government taking much pride in being able to bring back local democracy to the general populace.
The local polls were held in 71 Local Authority Areas which comprise 62 NDCs and nine municipalities. Some 507,633 persons were registered to vote and according to GECOM, only 38-39 per cent of eligible voters actually participated.
Already forecasting a massive win, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo issued a statement on Saturday evening assuring the Party’s supporters that it is now one step closer to reclaiming the country.
“As a Party, we will continue to work hard to improve people’s lives and to prevent democracy from sliding backward. We are on the way to reclaiming our country, saving it from ruin and destruction by the hands of those who have demonstrated their only interest in Government is to be revengeful, spiteful and discriminatory,” the former President expressed.
He noted that the impressive victories scored by his Party were a clear indication that the PPP/C was always prepared to contest LGE and could never be held responsible for its delay.

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