We demand a return to the original polling places

Dear Editor,
We the people of Guyana are asking that polling places be returned to their original locations or simply put, we are asking that polling places return to its existing format as in the 2015 elections and elections thereafter. This is to facilitate a smooth, transparent and incident-free election.
Changing this existing arrangement would only create or cause to create a situation of chaos and mass disenfranchisement of the potential voter. I make this call because now is the time to correct this atrocity because come Election Day when it is all over there would be no room for a revisit of the said circumstances.
This arbitrary last-minute change of polling places comes as a shock to everyone as information coming to hand from GECOM itself tells a totally different story. The evidence that is before us is of a Commission sitting down together making a consensual agreement as to the official places of poll, however, what confronts us is a CEO, Lowenfield, making drastic changes to that arrangement, putting thousands of electors at risk of being disenfranchised.
My question is who gave Lowenfield – Claudette Singh seems to go along with it – that right to arbitrarily change the voter location arrangement? The answer is no one, but they who took it upon themselves in a lowdown, way which amounts to denying the voter his constitutional right.
And to think of it, this was surgically done in PPP/C strongholds only! It can only be interpreted literally as one cutting off your legs and telling you to run. This smacks of deception and gross underhand conduct that must stop now! Again, I call on the other contesting parties as well as the international community to come forward and launch their disapproval of this move.
Then, they have the audacity to issue an explanation that this is a recommendation made by The Carter Center. Yes, The Carter Center made that recommendation but what they are not telling us is that if that advice is to be foolproof it has to be done across the political landscape. It has to be done on an even scale which calls for the PNC strongholds as well.
As it is, the PNC strongholds are intact as well as there are a number of polling places still housed in private residences. The plain truth before us is that this latest move was carefully planned with the sole aim to frustrate PPP/C voters.
Even more distressing is the fact that some of the polling areas were wholly lifted and placed in PNC stronghold places such as Bagotville. Having PPP/C voters go to cast their ballots in a PNC stronghold is criminal, to say the least, it is just creating a situation of instability and chaos.
This is outrageous and we will not sit idly by and accept this, GECOM knows fully well what will take place should this happen, so trying to give some mumbo jumbo explanation would not change the facts. The point is the PNC and its leadership would stir up trouble at the sight of PPP/C or perceived PPP/C voters coming into their area, that’s an undeniable fact.
Even more distressing is the fact that one Polling Station on the East Coast of Demerara, Lusignan, is positioned in a tent near to a maximum-security prison. Hogwash! Can Lowenfield and Claudette Singh tell anyone for that matter what “security” that holds for us? No one, even if you have half a brain, would ever consider doing something like that, but the “sensible” CEO thinks so. Further to our discussion is the fact that the Chairwoman who is supposed to be a former Judge can also go along with that crap, it speaks volumes of her morality and leadership qualities.
What if there is a prison break on Election Day, and God forbid that this should happen then picture the scene of bullets flying and thousands of innocent civilians being trapped in the crossfire. With the PNC’s propensity for violence, this is the real case scenario before us. We do not want any voter to be afraid to carry out his mandate neither do we want any voter to be disenfranchised. The situations I have raised above will spell doom if we do not revert back to what existed before.
We want, I dare say, we demand a situation where we can vote in peace unhindered and unfettered by any encumbrances. If we do not get back a favourable response from GECOM, then we have no other alternative than to hit the road in mass protest against this grave injustice brought upon us by that shameless clique at GECOM.

Neil Adams