One should have no problems providing the deserving plaudits and commendations to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) for seamlessly rolling out its comprehensive plans for hosting the June 12 Local Government Elections (LGEs).
In arriving at the demonstrated whole level of preparedness, the GECOM’s implementing team has ensured consistency with the legally- time-bound, verifiable activities, while providing transparent guidelines and decisions for fairness and to inform acceptable results.
At this point, the nomination of candidates competing for election to the Councils of the various 70 Local Authority Areas (LAAs) and 10 Municipalities is completed, and potential candidates have already received the confirmations from GECOM. Consequently, the transformation of the mood and spirit of the entire country to the competitive fever we experience at election time is very much on track.
Some vital scheduled activities are ongoing, including the Joint Services’ preparation for the Elections, which is also welcome. While the Joint Services staff will cast their votes on June 06, 2023 (D-Day), the Joint Services Training Committee is conducting intensive training in preparation for all possible scenarios on and before Election Day. In addition, GECOM has invited the application of interested persons and groups for their consideration and approval as Observers, which is most welcome. It is applaudable that Local Observer Groups will be accredited to observe the Elections.
GECOM’s Chief Executive Officer, Vishnu Persaud, and his efficient team produced a carefully prepared Work Plan through which the Preliminary List of Voters (PLV) was updated thoroughly, and the Registers of Voters for each of the 80 Local Authority Areas. Further, through these controlled procedures, its Secretariat has more robust command and control with the appointment of Electoral Registrars and Assistant Electoral Registrars. In addition, GECOM has already completed the management and polling day staff training for all the Local Authority Areas.
Seeing the two main political parties on the ground campaigning is heartening. While the main Opposition has failed to put up candidates to contest the Elections in many constituencies, they are visibly trying to be active in a few areas. However, the PPP/C is very proactive, and is aggressively campaigning in all corners of the country. Even in Constituencies where the PPP/C has no opposition, they are going house to house to bring about political awareness and enlighten the masses of their good intention to make all the Comminutes a better place.
These LGEs will be an Election with a difference, since the strategic and objective approach of the Governing PPP/C presents a solid contrast to the system of the Opposition, which in the recent past has been more focused on offering cases to disrupt or further delay the elections. Notably, the PPPC demonstrates a committed and firmly focused agenda on strengthening the people’s inclusiveness and togetherness at the grassroots level, which will unite this nation in all its diversity. In contrast, the Opposition clan seemed to jump on board at the last moment, following their failed and futile excuses-laden approach premised on ethnic division.
There is intense anticipation that the PNC will pay dearly for the roles of some of their senior administrators in their failed attempt to steal power at the March 2020 General and Regional Elections. This position is evident in their failure to propose representative contesting candidates in several constituencies.
Notwithstanding, they could no longer present futile excuses, as GECOM has presented a transparent and verified Preliminary List of Voters, and notified procedures as a platform for free and fair elections.
The PNC must now face the electorate, and it is pleasing to know and see that the campaigning in the various constituencies has taken on a very peaceful posture. As Guyana moves towards LGEs on June 12 this year, let us help GECOM to produce the best free and fair elections.