Guyanese cast LGE votes in smooth process

Voting opened across polling stations across the country on Monday for the highly-anticipated Local Government Elections (LGE) with a large turnout from Guyanese, who were eager to exercise their franchise.
As it clocked 06:00h, polling stations opened and thereon, persons trickled in to cast their ballots – many of whom indicated to Guyana Times that it was a smooth process with no hiccups.

Top Cop Clifton Hicken inspected polling stations in Georgetown with other senior ranks

Some 14,500 temporary staff hired by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) were ready to assist so that persons could vote and elect leaders at the local level.
In an effort to ensure all polling stations remained incident-free, ranks of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) were deployed to the various polling stations across the country.
Police Commissioner, Clifton Hicken; Deputy Commissioner ‘Administration’, Calvin Brutus; and Deputy Commissioner ‘Operations’, Ravindradat Budhram visited various polling stations within the Georgetown Municipality including: St John Association of Guyana, St John’s College, The Bishops’ High School, and St Barnabas Special School.
In Georgetown, the robust campaigning of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic to take over the helm of City Hall stood against the People’s National Congress’ five-decade incumbency. This time around, the PPP/C was lobbying for citizens to give the party a chance, having outlined the current mismanagement and neglect of the city.

A voter showing her inked finger at Taymouth Manor, Essequibo Coast

In showing up to vote, citizens shared that they would like to see improvements in their communities albeit with better roads, drainage, infrastructure or better leadership.
At the Dharmic Rama Krisha Primary School, the candidate for constituency two (Kitty/Subryanville) told this publication that the process, while slow, was going smoothly.
“It’s slow, which is expected in these elections. That’s the norm, especially since it is a work day also but people are trickling in and it’s going well,” Dyal commented.
Meanwhile, Gangadai Persaud came out early to cast her ballot. After her finger was inked at the St Winefride’s Secondary School, she lobbied, “I live on D’Andrade Street. The bridge there needs a rail. It has been two years now…and we need better roads.”
Like many constituencies, persons took it upon themselves to vote in the wee hours of the morning before heading to work.

Persons entering Providence Primary School to exercise their franchise

During the 2018 LGE, Pandit Ubraj Narine was elected as Mayor of Georgetown.

Greater Georgetown
Meanwhile, at Agricola on the East Bank of Demerara, 19-year-old Arianna Culpepper wanted to see greater collaboration in order to enhance her community.
The first-time voter opined, “I would like to see a lot of things, like everybody coming together and work as one to live in love and peace. I want to see one people, one nation, one Guyana.”
Providence Primary School was also buzzing throughout the day when this publication showed up. From all indication, it was moving smoothly.
Over on the West Bank of Demerara, some voters were displeased that their respective polling stations were located outside of the village, since one was already present in close proximity. This was the case for some persons residing in Pouderoyen.

APNU Candidate Faye Rodrigues voted in Kwakwani

One person anonymously detailed, “There is a polling station in my street so when I showed up there, they said I am not on the list. When we checked, I have to go to the other street, and for some people that don’t know where, it can discourage them [from voting] after all the runaround.”

Essequibo Coast
Over in Essequibo, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), some 35,000 registered voters were scheduled to cast their ballots within the districts of Charity/Urasara, Evergreen/Paradise, Aberdeen/Zorg-En-Vlygt, Annandale/Riverstown, Good Hope/Pomona, and the Anna Regina Municipality.
From reports on the ground, the atmosphere was calm and quiet along the coast.
Speaking with Guyana Times, persons indicated that the voting process was transparent, simple, and straightforward.
For Devindra Persaud, being a first-time voter made him nervous. However, he turned up to vote, sharing the importance of playing a part in the electoral process and identify leaders to improve the lives in these communities.
Another voter, Steve Hardpaul, expressed, “It was my first time voting, and I was a bit nervous but at the time, it wasn’t a hard process so I put my X at in the right box and voted for the people that will bring development.”
Additionally, Ashley Dindyal believes that everyone should vote in order to place a party that will aid in the development and betterment of the country.
“I voted and will continue to vote because everyone need betterment… we all have to vote for people that will bring betterment and improve the lives of all Guyanese.”

Latoya Mohamed of Kwakwani described voting as a simple process and one that was free of discrepancies.
She shared, “It was an easy and transparent process.
PPP/C Candidates Paris Archer and Natasha Welch; and APNU Candidate Faye Rodrigues spared no efforts to venture out early from their homes, and were all smiles after leaving the polling station. They were ready to serve their respective constituencies should they be elected.
Contrary to general elections, Local Government Elections at Kwakwani, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) saw minimal movements of residents across the six constituencies in the community.
At the November 2018 local government polls, the then PPP/C Opposition had secured 52 of the 80 Local Authority Areas (LAAs). This had followed the holding of the LGE in 2016, during which the PPP/C also claimed the majority of the LAAs. (Rupa Seenaraine; Raywattie Deonarine and Solomon McGarrell)