LGE 2023: GECOM sets June 2 for Disciplined Forces to vote

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has set June 2, 2023, as the day for the Disciplined Services to vote, 10 days ahead of the June 12 Local Government Elections (LGE) when the general population will cast their ballots.
This was explained in a notice from GECOM, who noted that this is being done under Sections 74A and 74I of the Local Authorities (Amendment) Act. Disciplined Services encompass the Guyana Police Force (GPF), the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), the Guyana Fire Service and the Guyana Prison Service.

Joint Services ranks at the LGE training

“And whereas Section 74E requires the Elections Commission to appoint a day on which persons entitled to vote under that part may ballot; Now therefore the Elections Commission hereby gives notice that the day on which the persons entitled to vote under Sections 74A-74I may ballot shall be 2 June, 2023 from 6:00 hours to 18:00 hours,” GECOM explained in their notice.
Voting for the Disciplined Services is traditionally held separate from the general population because the Disciplined Services will have their hands full ensuring law and order is maintained when the general population votes. Accordingly, training was also held on Monday for the Disciplined Services.
The training was done with ranks of Regional Police Division #3, who were sensitised on E-Day preparedness during a lecture done by Assistant Superintendent Delon Fraser, who is an attorney-at-law attached to the chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
During the three-hour training at the Regional Recreational Hall at Leonora Police Station, West Coast Demerara (WCD), the topics covered included misconduct in polling places, possible offences in the polling place on election day, forging of proxy paper and minor offences
“Ranks were reminded of their roles, functions and responsibilities on E-Day to ensure that persons are able to cast their ballots in an orderly manner and to ensure the maintenance of law and order,” a statement from the GPF also said.
Meanwhile, the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) in a notice invited representatives of specific groups to contact the commission to indicate their participation in the public signing of a ‘Code of Conduct’ for the elections. Among the groups who were called upon were the Agriculture for Community Development, Citizens Participation, Development for the People, Hague Blankenburg Development Association, Independent Citizens for Progress.
Other groups include the National Congress of Progressive People’s Alliance, People’s Royal Empowerment Enforced, Tuschen/Uitvlugt Developers, United for Community Development, United Destiny Group, United Democratic Movement and the Mora/Parika Community Development. Meanwhile, specific individuals mentioned in the notice were Premchand Persaud and Daimeon James.
Local Government Elections were initially scheduled for March 13, but disagreements over constituencies and how lists were to be extracted caused a holdup. LGE were constitutionally due at the end of last year, but GECOM was without a Chief Election Officer and could not have prepared to host the elections. GECOM, a constitutional body, was allocated $5.2B in the 2023 National Budget to carry out its functions.
In February of this year, Local Government and Regional Development Minister Nigel Dharamlall set Monday, June 12, 2023 as the date for the holding of the much-anticipated and long overdue LGE in Guyana.
GECOM has already been in preparation mode over the past few months as it gears up for the long overdue elections. The Commission had previously indicated that its approved work plan entails, among other things, that the Elections Secretariat would immediately move to roll out a robust civic and voter education programme, appoint Electoral Registrars and Assistant Electoral Registrars, and extract the Preliminary List of Voters (PLV). These activities, it noted, are directly linked to the preparation of Registers of Voters for each of the 80 Local Authority Areas (LAAs).
In this regard, the GECOM Secretariat had already completed the training of management and polling day staff for all of the Local Authority Areas, and the receipt of applications for and approval of symbols submitted by political parties, voluntary groups, and individuals who intend to contest the elections.
In fact, the Elections Commission had extended the process to provide a further opportunity for political parties, groups or individuals wanting to contest the upcoming LGE to submit their applications for approval of their symbols by March 1, 2023.
LGE, which are constitutionally due every two years, was last held in 2018. At the November 2018 local government polls, the then People’s Progressive Party/Civic (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. (G3)