No law that caters for party agents to guard ballot boxes – GECOM
DPI, Guyana, Thursday, March 26, 2020
The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has made it clear that no law that caters for party agents to guard ballot boxes once they are in the custody of the Commission.
This was disclosed by GECOM in a press release issued today. This comes after several parties have made claims on social media that their agents are being restricted from ensuring the ballot boxes are safe.
The release stated that “Section 141 of the Representation of the People’s Act states that in any indictment, information or complaint about an offence in relation to ballot boxes, ballot papers and other election material, the property in them may be stated to be in the Chief Election Officer.”
The GECOM statement noted that the law does not consider party agents as a key stakeholder in the security of ballot boxes.
It further highlighted that “Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission decided on 15 March 2020 that one agent per political party be accommodated in GECOM’s compound for the sole purpose of watching containers with General and Regional Elections 2020 ballot boxes.”
Additionally, it was pointed out that predating the elections, there is an administrative arrangement for all parties to place padlocks on all the containers with ballot boxes. Only the two major political parties have places chains and padlocks on each container in the custody of the Commission.
The Commission also noted that it realised that the safety and security of its staff and the compound were compromised by the presence of party agents.
“Therefore, as of 25 March 2020, political parties were asked to desist from photographing and taking videos of staff members and GECOM’s routine operations,” the statement outlined.
The Elections Commission has called on all, party agents to observe the agency’s security protocol and desist from peddling misinformation.