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UNASUR visits 33 polling stations, recommends more for elderly, handicapped; to witness ballot counting

Head of mission Dr. Domingo Paredes

The Union of South American Nations (UNSAUR) mission here in Guyana has spoken highly of the coordination and conduct of the May 11 voting process currently ongoing and has noted that other countries of the South American region can learn a lot from the country.

Giving his perception of the voting process as at noon today, Head of mission Dr. Domingo Paredes said that despite the little resources available to the nation, he was impressed by the “creativity” and “austerity” employed in the electoral system.

The mission related information collected from its members located at 33 polling stations; 12 in Parika, eight in Georgetown, eight in New Amsterdam and five in Linden.

From all indications, the polling stations were open on time, “with a variation of five to 10 minutes.” Paredes said that in other countries in the region there are delays of two to three hours. The agency spoke well of security and mentioned too the availability of information for voters as they enter the polling stations.

Paredes also noted the availability of political party representatives who had copies of the official list of electors, again, something that does not occur in some countries of the region. The Head of mission went on to commend the polling agents who were described as knowing very well their tasks. Punctual and peaceful voters who had lined up at polling stations early in the morning were also commended. Paredes opined that by 10:00hours 35 to 40 percent of persons waiting to cast their ballots had voted.

The mission commended Guyana on the number of females involved in the process which is not a feature of other countries in the region. The organization was however concerned that adequate facility “did not exist” for the elderly and handicapped and recommended features to accommodate them.

Another observation was the congestion of polling places which the organization noted were too small and could not accommodate a certain number of persons. “This creates some uncertainty for some persons,” Paredes said, and recommended the revision of this in the future.

The mission stated however that they have received no reports of disturbances that should warrant any alarm. The body said that it will be observing the rest of the voting process and will be observing the counting of ballots.

Another report will be given before lunch tomorrow.