by Zena Henry
Some 7,452 Disciplined Service men and women from the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), the Guyana Police Force (GPF), Prisons and Fire Service are expected to cast their ballotsas the 2015 political season nears its end.
At least 84 polling stations will be in use across the country as the security officers will be voting in areas where they originally live. Chief Elections Office (CEO) Keith Lowenfield told reporters Thursday April 29 that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is in fill preparation mode to facilitate the Forces on voting day.
Lowenfield said that the Commission is at a very advanced stage of preparations. “As I speak my staff along with agents from the respective parties, they have extracted the amount of Disciplined Services ranks who will be voting at 84 Locations across Guyana.”
The CEO said that the process of extracting is done in the presence of agents for the respective parties. That exercise he said was started yesterday afternoon and continued with party agents today.
Lowenfield reiterated that voting ballots from the ranks will be intermixed as the law prescribes. “Those ballots will be intermixed and counted at the residences in divisions, sub divisions where these ranks ordinarily reside.”
He explained that if a soldier is stationed in Eteringbang in Region7, but resides in Number 51 Village Corentyne, then his ballot will be intermixing in District 6, “because as you know it is General and Regional Elections.”
Political parties have been campaigning for the hearts of the security forces despite the small percentage that the Forces make up in the ballot process. They were brought to the spotlight as the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) one of the main election contenders, expressed grave concern over the alleged “militarization” of the Opposition Coalition saying many ex-Officers were involved in the party and would seek to use their connections to create havoc.
The PPP then reminded the Army that it should vote for them because they had taken good care of them compared to when they existed under the former People’s National Congress (PNC) government.
The Opposition Coalition has dismissed any allegations of “militarisation” and utterances that suggest that the Coalition would seek to use the Forces, specifically, the Army to create unrest and destruction should they not win the election.