Commonwealth Observer satisfied with GECOM’s election process

―provided favorable recommendations

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Chairman of the Commonwealth Observer Group and former Prime Minister of Barbados Owen Arthur has commended the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) on its hosting of an efficient election process on March 2.

The Chairman was speaking at a media conference on Wednesday where he revealed the mission’s initial observation of Guyana’s General and Regional Elections.

“Polling conducted in an orderly, transparent and a largely peaceful environment. Polling stations were generally well organised and prepared for the polls and opened promptly…staff appeared to be well trained and we commend them for their professionalism and their diligence,” the Chairman said.

He said while the environment was tense, the overall fundamental freedom of association, expression and movement were generally respected.

“We noted the efforts of GECOM to minimise the use of private residences as polling places through greater use of public polling locations. The Group noted with considerable concerns that the list of polling stations was not concluded until just 2 days before the election day itself,” the Chairman disclosed.

Congratulating the election body for facilitating an early voting procedure for the military forces on February 21, Arthur described the process as orderly.

“We acknowledge the important role played by the police in securing polling units. Their presence was adequate and nonintrusive.”

He said the process in some polling stations was “slow’ and led to long queues, however, voters exercised patience and the queues were processed in a logically.

Additionally, it was also observed that there has been a significant increase in the number of political parties and Presidential Candidates contesting the March 2 General and Regional Elections, although the campaign was dominated by the APNU+AFC and the PPP/C.

The final report will contain the group’s recommendation which it hopes will be helpful to GECOM and other stakeholders in strengthening Guyana’s democracy.

The Commonwealth Observer Group was constituted by the Commonwealth Secretary-General Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland QC following an invitation from the Foreign Affairs Ministry to observe Guyana’s General and Regional Elections. Since 1992 this has been the seventh consecutive election the group has observed.

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