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GECOM agrees to number of polling stations

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) on Monday announced that there would be 2,299 polling stations across the country for the May 11, 2015 general and regional elections.

The elections management authority said that of that number 166 of the stations would be at private residences.

GECOM said that information was provided to representatives of the coalition A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+ AFC) during a meeting that was held last Friday to discuss a number of “important electoral issues.”

GECOM reported that the coalition representatives expressed concerns about possible lateness of notification relative to changes of Polling Stations, especially those that are private residences. GECOM’s Chief Election Officer (CEO), Mr. Keith Lowenfield indicated that as far as is practicable, GECOM will be contacting Political Parties promptly and notifying them about any changes in location of any Polling Station, should any such changes occur.

The commission said that, at the request of the coalition, it would be issuing a stern public statement advising persons against the defacing, destruction and or otherwise removal of political parties’ campaign materials.

With regards to enquiries were made by the Coalition about GECOM’s current posture as it relates to the issuance of Certificates of Employment to Polling Agents working on Election Day, GECOM Chairman, Dr. Steve Surujbally, mentioned that GECOM has undertaken steps to ensure that due process is maintained in order to achieve a legally binding position on the matter of issuance of Certificates of Employment. 

The CEO indicated that the Official List of Electors (OLE) has been certified, and that preparations are being made to have it posted in all of GECOM’s Registration Districts by April 28, 2015, in accordance with statutory obligations. The CEO also mentioned that GECOM will be preparing Folios containing the photograph and other important bio data of all electors. These Folios are to be utilized in Polling stations by the Presiding Officers and Political Party Agents present, as an additional means of Voter verification. At the end of Election Day activities, the Polling Agents are required to return the folios to the Presiding Officer.

GECOM said it emphasized that it is working assiduously to ensure it delivers an election that is free, fair, credible and transparent. The authority took the opportunity to encourage the APNU+AFC to place every confidence in the professional work being done by the Commission and Secretariat. The APNU+AFC assured the Chairman and his team that it has confidence in GECOM’s undertakings.

Representing APNU+AFC were Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, Mr. Joseph Harmon, Mr. David Patterson, Mr. Clayton Hall and Ms. Tabita Sarbo-Halley.

GECOM was led by its Chairman, Dr. Steve Surujbally, Chief Election Officer, Mr. Keith Lowenfield, Deputy Chief Election Officer, Mr. Vishnu Persaud, and Public Relations Officer, Mr. Richard Francois.