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OAS, GECOM ink agreement to observer general elections

GECOM Chairman, Dr. Steve Surujbally and the Head of the OAS Electoral Observer Mission, Lisa Shoman. Witnessing the signing was Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield

GECOM, Georgetown, April 15, 2015 –An agreement was signed Wednesday by the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) on the Electoral Observation Process of the 2015 General and Regional Elections.

This agreement was compiled by the OAS. The signing took place when the OAS Chief of Mission, Ms. Lisa Shoman visited GECOM. The agreement, clearly outlines the conditions under which the OAS will execute its electoral observation exercise, before, during and after the conduct of the May 11 General and Regional Elections.

GECOM Chairman, Dr. Steve Surujbally, after the signing, took the opportunity to brief the OAS team on GECOM’s current state of preparedness for the efficient and transparent conduct of the upcoming elections. He indicated that GECOM has already written to the eight Political Parties contesting the May 11, General and Regional Elections, informing them of their eligibility. He also mentioned that GECOM is on the verge of posting the Official List of Electors (OLE).

Dr. Surujbally further explained to the OAS team that GECOM has already finalized all the Polling Stations to be utilized on Election Day and currently is engaged assiduously in refresher training of Polling Day staff. The Chairman also indicated that GECOM’s Civic and Voter Education programme is well underway with a variety of advertisements, infomercials as well as public service announcements being published in the print and electronic media daily. He was keen to point out to the OAS team that GECOM’s television infomercials cater for persons living with hearing disabilities, via sign language.

GECOM is committed to working within the guidelines of the agreement signed and looks forward to positive electoral observation reportage from the OAS.

The OAS Chief of Mission, Ms. Lisa Shoman, indicated that the OAS intends to field a team of about a dozen observers who will be strategically placed across the country during Election Day. She also mentioned that the OAS representatives should be arriving in Guyana on Tuesday May 5, 2015 and will be staying even after Election Day.

Accompanying the OAS Chief of Mission was the OAS Deputy Chief of Mission, Mr. David Álvarez Veloso and the Resident OAS Representative in Guyana, Mr. Jean Ricot Dormeus.

GECOM’s Chairman Dr. Steve Surujbally was accompanied by the Chief Election Officer, Mr. Keith Lowenfield, and the Public Relations Officer, Mr. Richard Francois