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Smooth voting by security forces – GECOM Chairman, APNU+AFC official

A Coast Guardsman shows his inked finger to reporters after casting his ballot at the Coast Guard Headquarters, Ruimveldt

Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Dr. Steve Surujbally Saturday afternoon said voting by the Disciplined Forces went well except for a few minor observations.

“There was a certain fluidity that I found very agreeable. There were one or two glitches that were minor but for me they were unacceptable,” he told Demerara Waves Online News. He observed at a few polling stations that he visited that GECOM staff did not wear their identification badges but had them in their purses.

Asked whether he had received any complaints from political parties, Surujbally said “not one an they would very quick to point it out to me.”

In other instances, the GECOM Chairman said voting queues were held up because party personnel opted to apply every rule in the identification and swearing processes for persons who did not turn up with their National Identification Cards. “The party agents were not satisfied with one or two questions. Although the people were standing right in front of them even though they had their pictures in the folios, they still wanted every question asked but in the end that petered out,” he said.

The People’s Progressive Party’s (PPPC) Dr. Frank Anthony reserved comment because party personnel were still returning with their reports. Repeated efforts to contact that party’s General Secretary, Clement Rohee for an update proved futile.

Region Four Election Agent for A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), Clayton Hall told Demerara Waves Online News that preliminary information received suggests that voting by police, soldiers, prison personnel and fire fighters went well.

Hall said he was informed that 32 soldiers, who were not present at the Guyana Defence Force’s (GDF) base at Tacama, Upper Berbice River did not vote because they were not at that location. In that case, he said arrangements would be made for them to vote on May 11, 2015 when civilians would cast their ballots.

“Everybody (at Tacama) voted except those thirty-two for whatever reasons were not on location at the time,” he said. A similar situation occurred at a location in Region One (Barima-Waini).  He said he has not received any adverse reports and I think the team effort from everyone was commendable and everything went well.

The percentage turnout by the little more than 7,000 registered members of the security forces was not immediately known.

Earlier Saturday, GECOM sought to allay fears about the fact that ballots cast by security personnel were not stamped.“Ballot papers issued  to members of the Disciplined Forces will not be stamped with the official six digit stamp when they are given to Ranks for them to vote. 

The Ballot Papers will be stamped on Election Day when they are sent to be intermixed and counted on Elections Day at Polling Stations that will be Gazetted, as is required by Law.

GECOM assured that the votes cast by all members of the Disciplined Forces will be ccounted on Election Day.  

Canada’s High Commissioner to Guyana, Dr. Nicole Giles told reporters during a visit to the GDF Coast Guard Headquarters that she was happy with the turnout. “We started at 545 this morning and observed the opening of one of the polling stations.

This is my seventh polling station so far today and we have been able to observe votes being cast at army, police and now the Coast Guard I’ve been really pleased to see the turn out and the enthusiasm and to see the disciplinary services turning out to cast their votes, that’s the most important thing in any democratic process” she said.