The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is prepared and ready to produce free, fair and credible general and regional elections on Monday. That was expressed by the Chair, (ret’d) Justice Claudette Singh S.C. as she fielded questions from media operatives at GECOM’s Kingston office, following the signing of the electoral code of conduct by political parties.
The Chair had been asked about what was left to be done by GECOM to prepare for elections, to which she responded “Well, I would say GECOM is ready. Everything has been done.”
She then allowed Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield to apprise the media about GECOM’s current operations.
The Commission and its Secretariat have had to work in overdrive to ensure that it could be prepared for elections in a short period, and with considerable public pressure following public unease over the events of the December 2018 no confidence motion.
Lowenfield said that GECOM is advanced in its preparation for the commencement of polls.
One decision he said GECOM has recently made is to have another team of election agents from the political parties be requested to accompany the Deputy Returning Officers (DROs) from their offices to uplift the statements of poll and boxes from presiding officers. This is to ensure there is utmost transparency in the electoral process.
He explained that the DROs will deliver the statements to the Returning Officers, who will in turn deliver those to the Chief Elections Officer.
Lowenfield was asked whether GECOM has contemplated a timeline for the declaration of election results.
All he offered is that GECOM hopes to get that done at the earliest possible time, as it is difficult to ascertain exactly how long the process will take, as well as the possibility of an election petition.
The Guyana Press Association (GPA) had recently criticised GECOM for its sloth in responding to critical questions of national interest posed to the entity by media operatives. Of this, Lowenfield said that the media centre established at the Ashmin’s building in downtown Georgetown will be working diligently to inform the public of matters of interest throughout the period.
Public Relations Officer Yolanda Ward informed the media last night that GECOM’s review of the Opposition’s proposition for a decongestion of polling stations in certain People’s Progressive Party (PPP) strongholds was completed. The number of polling stations remains at 2,339.
Ward said that some polling stations in Mon Repos were re-located. Previously, the 18 polling stations for that village were cramped into just two schools. Ward said that there would now be five polling places, instead of two. With respect to Foulis, the polling place at the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) there has been moved to Jai’s workshop, Ward said. No adjustment was stated for the third location identified by the Opposition, Chesney, Corentyne.
Additionally, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) noted in a statement yesterday that the police commissioner Leslie James gave assurance of the Force’s readiness to provide adequate security measures for the elections. He reportedly stated that ranks will be deployed to secure all polling places, as well as to ensure security arrangements for ballot boxes.
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