…major parties, GECOM undertake to address polling places complaint

REPRESENTATIVES from the coalition and the main opposition party visited areas on Thursday where claims have been made that electors would be affected by congestion and distance due to the reassigning of polling places.

The visitation came after Executives of the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) were made aware that representatives of the Guyana Election Commission (GECOM) and the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) had gone about on a similar visitation unbeknownst to and without the APNU+AFC.


The party’s campaign manager, Joseph Harmon, updated the media on these developments following a meeting with the commission on Thursday. He was accompanied by APNU+AFC Chief Whip, Amna Ally; Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix, and party consultant, Mark Kirton.

Harmon said that the commission had advised that based on complaints made by the PPP related to congestion and the distance at polling places at Foulis and Mon Repos on the East Coast of Demerara (ECD), a review those polling places was necessary.

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Government Chief Whip, Amna Ally, and APNU+AFC Campaign Manager, Joseph Harmon

However, he said the his party found it “disturbing” when it was made aware that the Office of the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) and only PPP elections agents had visited the locations in search of alternative venues for the polling places. “We found that to be unusual and we said that we will not accept any changes made based on that formula,” Harmon said. The decision was therefore made that the elections agents from both parties for the East Coast area would go with GECOM to revisit the areas of which claims of congestion and distance have been made.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, is the agent responsible for that area, but Harmon noted that he would also be present. Commissioner Vincent Alexander told the newspaper later that day that should the party representatives disagree on whether changes should or should or should not be made, a decision will be made by GECOM. He anticipates that the commission will come to a decision by the end of today.

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In his interaction with the media yesterday, Harmon said he and other representatives also made it clear that there would be no compromise for the returning of any private residence as a polling place recently removed. Minister Ally raised the concern that a photograph has been circulating on social media which shows that PPP/C supporters recently had political meetings at a private residence in Aroaima selected as a polling place. “We are not about to accept things of this nature at all and so we are asking the commission to take a hard look at it. We are advocating that we must move away from private residences and go to public spaces whether it is tents or public buildings,” she said.

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Meanwhile Harmon added, “We respect the decisions of the commission; we support the commission in its work to deliver credible elections in Guyana. What we want to do is to help the commission to ensure that there polling places and polling stations are in places where people can exercise their will; their right to vote without any fear or any intimidation whatsoever.” He assured that the commission will also put measures in place to ensure that electors are made aware of any possible changes made.


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