There has been a deafening silence from the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government on its massive loss at the long awaited Local Government Elections (LGE); a democratic process it has been pushing for years to be held.
The Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) pulled significant votes in the Proportional Representation (PR) component of the historical Local Government Elections. This is according to the official results of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM); however, Government has not yet uttered a single word on this landslide victory by the single parliamentary Opposition.
The results updated on the Election Commission’s website showed the PPP reining in a total 123,564 votes, some 24,894 more than the coalition Government which gained 98,670 votes. The results were made available last evening, some four days after the election.
The results showed Government retaining significant support in municipalities within Georgetown, Linden, New Amsterdam, Bartica, Mabaruma, and Lethem; all communities that recently received township status.
Communities such as Rose Hall and Corriverton in Corentyne, Berbice and Anna Regina in Essequibo went to the Opposition.
Out of the 507,584 eligible voters in LGE, 239,070 persons or 47 per cent voted. Out of the total votes cast, 2744 were invalid.
The results according to regions show: the PPP/C receiving 1422 votes and the APNU/AFC receiving 1470 in Region One (Barima-Waini).
In Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), the PPP/C secured 11,146 votes while the APNU/AFC secured 3021.
In Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), the PPP/C ran away with 28,983, while the APNU/AFC took 11,896 votes.
In Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), the PPP/C secured 37,692 votes while Government followed with 23,047.
Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice), the PPP moved ahead with 9411, while the APNU/AFC secured 8783.
In Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), the Opposition secured 27,427 votes, while the APNU/AFC received 10,021.
Regions Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) and Nine (Upper Takatu-Upper Essequibo), saw Government leading with 2132 and 662 respectively, while the Opposition followed with 853 and 457 respectively.
In Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice), Government took a sweeping victory by securing 7412 votes, while the Opposition PPP secured a meagre 417.
On March 18, Guyanese went to the polls after more than 22 years. While the turnout was not as expected, Government said it was pleased that persons chose to exercise their franchise in this regard. The run up to the election saw a number of individuals and groups, along with the major political parties carrying out some rigorous campaigns, for what each said was a move to restore local communities for those who dwell there.
Some persons expressed the view that many Guyanese who were eligible to vote were completely unaware of the importance of the elections and consequently decided not to cast their ballot.
The low voter turnout was compounded by reports indicating that substantial amounts of voters were denied the opportunity to vote.
Reports suggest that residents from certain areas could not locate their correct polling stations; whereas in other cases, there was allegedly no nearby polling place available.
Attempts to contact GECOM officials on the matter proved futile as all calls to their phones went unanswered.
In the lead-up to LGE, the PPP/C parliamentary Opposition raised heaping concerns about the process; the Government’s readiness for the elections and the Election body’s preparedness to host it.
The Party was particularly concerned about a repeat of the General and Regional Elections 2015 where fake Statements of Poll were infiltrated into GECOM’s machinery and where a number of discrepancies plagued the process which was designed to be transparent.
Moreover GECOM’s voter education campaign is another feature of the LGE which received tons of criticism from all sections of society.
Critics contended that the campaigns commenced too late, adding that it failed to spur excitement among Guyanese, especially first-time voters who were clueless about the process.