Elections preparations will ensure free and fair polls – Commissioner Alexander

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The ongoing preparation by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) for the March 2 General and Regional Elections is well within its timeframe and will lead to free and fair elections.

Government Commissioner Vincent Alexander noted that Guyanese will head to the polls on March 2, despite the “forces that try to distort everything that occurs,” since preparations are well underway.

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GECOM Commissioner Vincent Alexander.

“I think that we are still within our deadlines and there are no discernable difficulties in terms of holding elections in March. I am convinced that the preparations will lead to an efficient election. I think they are leading to free and fair polls,” he told the media outside GECOM headquarters this evening.

Commissioners met for their last statutory meeting today, before E-day, to iron out some issues including matters raised by the opposition about the reduction in the use of private residences as polling stations for the elections.

Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfiield had noted that the Commission had taken the decision owing to recommendations by the Carter Centre following the 2015 elections, which suggested that the elections body utilise more public places instead of private residences.

Today the opposition appealed the decision. The CEO has been entrusted with the responsibility to address the concerns raised.

“It means that there will be a review of the places said to be congested and alternate arrangements will be made, including the possibility of tentage (sic) to facilitate less congested conditions,” Alexander explained.

On Friday, His Excellency President David Granger said that the government commissioners on GECOM had no intention of disenfranchising anyone and that the selection of polling places rests solely with the elections commission.

Though not within the government’s purview, the President had noted, however, that the PPP had in the past abused the very system, causing many Guyanese to be disenfranchised.

He said while the PPP was in government, it was apparent to the then opposition that some of the private residences were so obscured that many government supporters could not find those polling places as many were changed at the last moment.

“There were numerous abuses in the past in terms of the selection of private residences. Some of them were obscure, some of them were the houses of active political advocates and many persons not associated with the administration at that time were disenfranchised,” President Granger told media operatives,” the President said on Friday.

The commission meets again tomorrow.

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