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Women and Gender Equality Commission speaks on Elections 2015

On the eve of Guyana’s Elections, the Women & Gender Equality Commission urges all the political  parties and women in particular who are candidates to lead by example. They must demonstrate tolerance of opinions and perspectives and uphold with respect the freedom of association and the constitutional right of all Guyanese to vote for the party of their choice; and to accept with good grace the declaration of the results – independently sanctioned as free and fair.

We call on all Guyanese and on the leaders and supporters of all Parties – women and men – to promote and act in a peaceful, mature and civil and orderly way on Elections Day and in the Post Elections period – especially when the elections results are announced. We expect exemplary conduct by the party leaders, women candidates and civil society organisations.

We extend our sincere appreciation to the Carter Centre which will be observing their 100th election, led by former President of the United States of America, Mr Jimmy Carter. We would like to express our sincere appreciation to all the other observer teams both local and international for their services to Guyana.

In our New Year Press Release, our Commission had expressed the opinion that we look forward to a keenly and honestly contested election in which the promotion and advancement of women’s rights and gender equality will be prominent in all the Party Manifestos and campaign priorities.

We have seen the Manifestos of the two major parties and note with optimism, their promises to enhance and advance women’s rights in Guyana.We are pleased that the two main contesting parties have fulfilled the constitutional requirement in relation to female candidates on their respective lists.

We are also pleased to note that a woman is the Prime Ministerial candidate of one Party; and that all Parties have put forward excellent slates of diverse Women Candidates truly representative of age, race, class, location and creed. We salute all our women on all the Party Lists and wish them the very best.

We urge maturity and good-will by the political parties – women candidates, in particular, and by all citizens during the days ahead as we wrap up the campaigning and prepare to cast our vote.We need never to sink to the level of gross personal attacks and demeaning and disrespectful insults. The Women and Gender Equality Commission roundly condemns this on all sides – especially any such insults made by women candidates or leveled against them and we insist that greater restraint and respect be shown.

We all need to put Guyana first on our diverse agendas so as to build together a well governed nation in which gender equality and gender justice are harmonized.

Let Guyana be the winner!