GECOM staffers accused of deliberately frustrating electoral process

…observer missions urged to be alert

People’s Progressive Party (PPP) General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo is accusing a select group of Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) staffers of attempting to frustrate the decisions made by the Commission, particularly when it comes to increasing the number of polling places.
Jagdeo, at his weekly press briefing, explained that the Party, though the issue of additional polling places was resolved following the meeting with GECOM on Tuesday, GECOM reduced its use of private residences as polling places in areas that traditionally support the PPP/C.
Since it was announced that GECOM would be reducing the number of polling places, the prevailing concern has been that instead of GECOM facilitating a smooth and easy process, the Secretariat’s decisions would have made voting so difficult for voters that will stay home.
This raised a lot of criticisms from the Party which prompted a meeting with GECOM, its foreign advisers and the Party’s representatives.
Following the meeting, GECOM agreed to add an additional 12 polling places – six at Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara; four at Foulis, ECD; one at Chesney Village, Corentyne, and one at Friendship.

Select group
However, Jagdeo told reporters on Thursday that the Party received complaints of a select group of GECOM staffers attempting to frustrate the process. He explained that the employees are contending that the Commission would not have made a decision to increase the polling places.
“Yesterday (Wednesday) we started getting some strange vibes. This morning (Thursday) we saw a deliberate attempt by GECOM staff to frustrate the process. We heard that the Commission never agreed to that but the Chair called us and said your proposal has been agreed. This is very worrying. There are three persons who will frustrate every decision of the Commission…that is their work. We brought it to the attention of the observers,” he said.
The former President stated that GECOM’s Chair, Retired Justice Claudette Singh, called the Party’s Executive Secretary, Zulfikar Mustapha, and informed him of the decision. He related that the Party has since relayed all that information to the various observer missions who are here to assess the conduct of the March 2 General and Regional Elections.
Jagdeo said that his party would be closely monitoring the actions of the staffers to ensure that there are no attempts to frustrate the elections process in those particular communities.
He noted that they have urged the observer missions to pay keen attention to the behaviour of the identified GECOM staffers so that they would not be allowed to frustrate the process.