By Leon Suseran
Berbicians came out in very large numbers yesterday, Elections Day, in what appears to be a huge expression of their democratic right. In several communities across East and West Berbice on Election Day there were crowded polling places.
Things were pretty busy in New Amsterdam at the Berbice High School, Berbice Educational Institute and New Amsterdam Multilateral School where large numbers of voters joined lines to exercise their franchise.
The process was relatively smooth in New Amsterdam. Things were much quieter along East Bank Berbice. Police officers were visible at each polling station as well.
In East Canje, the Canje Secondary School was a hive of activity with a long line of voters around 09:00 hrs. One woman, who turned up there around 11:00 hrs, was complaining that if her name was not found on the list at Canje Secondary, she would go back home and not vote, since she had been running around all morning to various polling centres in Canje.
She finally found her name and joined the line there.
Elections Day brought with it the usual chit-chat in the voting lines. There was light banter between a few persons as to why the polling agents had to loudly announce voters’ particulars, like name, address, occupation etc.
“Is wha he shouting out people thing suh for?” said a voter in the line at the Canje Secondary School. “If you wanted, you get catch right here,” said another man.
The Assistant Presiding Officer then came outside and asked the persons to lower their voices.
Alliance For Change, Dr Veerasammy Ramayya, said that things went fairly smooth, from his party’s perspective. He said that there were no problems save for the fact that a few persons needed some assistance to find their names on the Official List of Electors, which he said, the party assisted.
Region Six Chairman and Chairman of the Party in the Region, Mr Zulfikar Mustapha said that “things have been going on smoothly”.
“I am very optimistic we will be having a very good turnout, in terms of percentage of people. I am confident we will win the region again with a larger majority because when I look at the figures, they are very encouraging.
“I am hoping by the close of polls this afternoon, that we can have close to 100 per cent of voters to cast their ballots in Region Six.”
He admitted that there have been some “concerns” but while he was not prepared to specify, he did say that he raised these with the Presiding Officers and was hoping that these concerns would be resolved by the close of polls.
Bhoj Singh, AFC Member of Berbice told Kaieteur News, “Our expectations are that we expect to win 60 per cent of the votes in East Berbice. We are confident of that. It is time for the PPP to go, they cannot win.”
Singh alleged that the PPP’s supporters in the region were “intimidating people at the polling stations”. He said that these persons were arrested by police and locked up.
“The police promised to go into Albion where the people are doing the same”.
“Somebody voted before and she was walking on the road, they stopped the lady threatened her that she had to go to a polling station to vote PPP,” he posited. Singh alleged that they took away her ID Card.
“The police arrested some of their (the PPP) supporters from the polling stations in Canje. It happened, too at the Port Mourant Human Development Resource Centre, and about 75 of polling stations they did that. We had to get the police to help us.
“It went to the extent that one of our polling stations at Eversham, some peoples’ names were on the list and the Presiding Officer was issuing tendered ballot to the people. This, he alleged, happened at the Corentyne Eversham Primary School, GECOM #631123.
Zulfikar Mustapha made similar allegations against the AFC.
“AFC supporters were next to the fence at the Rose Hall Town Primary School checking people names whereas they supposed to be 200 yards away,(from the polling place)”, he said.
“I saw AFC polling agents had a pen with ‘AFC’ Bloomfield [on the Corentyne]”, he posited.
“I understand that [Dr] Ramayya had his vehicle with AFC posters driving on the road at Whim. He said the police had to be called in.
He added that the police never brought any complaints about PPP supporters intimidating voters. Our people were told to be 200 yards away from the polling stations”, Mustapha said.
“This morning I had a call that APNU supporters were in the New Amsterdam Multilateral School (NAMS) compound intimidating people and when the police went, it was true”, he posited.
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