Home Top Stories Local Govt Elections: Vote for party “that looks out for your welfare”...
As the Disciplined Services turn out today to cast their ballots ahead of Local Government Elections 2023, General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, has urged them to vote for the party that has their welfare and best interest.
During his weekly press conference on Thursday, Jagdeo pointed out that the PPP/C has been working to improve working conditions for the Disciplined Services, which began with the reinstation of their one-month tax free bonus.
This was removed by the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) after taking office in 2015.
Jagdeo reminded that during the last LGE in 2018, APNU has allegedly called the bonus a tool by the PPP/C to ‘suppress opponents’ at the poll.
“That is how APNU saw the one-month bonus that you used to receive under the PPP that they discontinued, that it was a bribe from the PPP for members of the disciplined forces, all of our policemen, soldiers, firemen and prison officers,”
He posited, “This is why in opposition, we made a commitment that we shall restore the bonus, and we have done that faithfully since we got into office.”
Today, ranks are benefitting from the one-month bonus, which amounts to a $1.3 billion spending from the country’s coffers.
“That is what the Disciplined Services get now, that they would not have gotten had APNU been in power. For those of them voting, I urged them to support a party that looks out for their welfare and has kept its promise to them, didn’t see them as bribe-takers,” the General Secretary voiced.
As the date draws nearer for the June 12 polls, parties have been contesting in their respective constituencies in order to secure those areas, and Government has promised continued support and incentives for the Joint Services under its governance.
In late 2022, President Dr Irfaan Ali had announced salary increases for certain groups of public sector employees, Disciplined Services members. As a result, 8000 members of the Guyana Police Force, Guyana Fire Service, and the Guyana Defence Force received salary increases that amounted to over $1 billion. Adjustments for members of the Joint Services saw ranks getting pay raises ranging from 5.8 per cent to 21.7 per cent.
GECOM had announced that the Disciplined Services would vote on June 2, in keeping with 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.
“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 has explained.
Voting for the Disciplined Services is traditionally held separately from the general population because the Disciplined Services will have their hands full in ensuring law and order is maintained when the general population votes.
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).