The Chairman of the Joint Services, Brigadier Mark Phillips late Saturday night roasted opposition coalition candidate, James Bond for posting purported results from the day’s voting by members of the security forces but the Attorney-at-Law defended his action saying there was nothing illegal or unethical about conducting an exit poll.
The Joint Services has since called on the Guyana Elections Commission to explain to the public whether there exists any possibility for a process they assured the nation would be secret to have been made public.
The Joint Services in a statement charged that Bond’s Facebook post- “An example of what occurred today at Whim Police Station…total number of voters 165….number of votes cast 147…..APNU+AFC 140…..PPP 7…” could potentially lead to unrest.
“This development is extremely worrying since Mr Bond, an Attorney and Candidate on the APNU+AFC list is expected to exercise good judgement in all matters pertaining to the electorate and the electoral process and not seek in any way to incite mayhem among the populace,” according to a statement issued through the Guyana Defence Force (GDF).
But Bond said the figures were acquired from an exit poll and he promised to remove the Facebook Post if it offends the Joint Services and Brigadier Phillips. He assured that the figures he posted were not official, precise or leaked by GECOM. “There is no way I could know the exact figure of votes cast at Whim. No way! It is impossible,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.
“There is nothing illegal about it, there is nothing unsavoury about it. There is nothing unethical about it. It is done in every single modern democracy,” he added.
Bond said he would remove the offending post and apologise to the Joint Services while maintaining that exit polls are globally acceptable in modern democracies.
The Chairman of the Joint Services was quoted in the statement as strongly condemning Bond’s post.”This is distasteful at best he stated and extremely irresponsible behavior by a former member of Parliament given that there is no way the results of any polling place of today’s Joint Services voting can be known according to GECOM.”
After the Disciplined Services’ votes were counted in 1992 and the voting pattern had been clearly established, GECOM has since decided that their ballots would be mixed with those cast by the civilian population and then counted.
The Joint Services sough to assure the nation that they remain committed to a peaceful electoral process and urge calm during and after the elections are completed.
Concerns about Bond’s Facebook post come on the heels of ex military officers in the opposition coalition of A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) being criticized by the incumbent People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) and the government for acts committed mainly during the Forbes Burnham-led People’s National Congress (PNC) in the 1970s and 1980s.