Last Updated on Tuesday, 8 March 2016, 9:26 by Denis Chabrol
Concerns were Tuesday raised about the use of green table cloths at one of the polling booths at the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) and the entry of armed policemen in a polling station to vote in Local Government Elections on Tuesday.
The People’s Progressive Party Civic’s (PPPC) representative, James Cole told reporters at the GDF’s Camp Ayanganna Headquarters that he was concerned that green table cloths were being used at the three polling stations there. “The setup, the layout is okay but why are we using political colours which I noticed that the tables are laid with green table cloth,” said .
Cole acknowledged that green is GDF colour but “we do not want anything to look compromised here.”
Green is a colour for A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).
GDF Chief-of-Staff, Brigadier Mark Phillips said that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) rather than the GDF was responsible for preparations. “That is a complaint for GECOM. This whole process is controlled by GECOM and I rather suspect the table cloth came from GECOM. If it’s a GDF table cloth then obviously the colour of the GDF is green so I don’t see how that should be a problem,” e said.
Independent candidate, Malcolm De Freitas told reporters that earlier Tuesday at a Guyana Police Force polling station, he intervened after noticing two policemen entering the polling station with guns which was against the law. “They did not know and that is what worries me. If I did not bring it to their attention they would have walked into a polling station with a live weapon on them and I find that particularly disturbing,” That to me is an unusual act and it should not have occurred,” he said.
Corrective action, he said, was taken. Colleague independent candidate, Glendon Fogenay said he was not so disturbed because two armed officers were required to protect the police unit of about 30 persons. At the same time, he praised the police officers for disarming themselves before going to cast their ballots
. “The officer accepted when he ws told that he cannot go into a polling booth with a weapon,” said Fogenay, a retired GDF officer.
Almost 7,000 police, soldiers and prison service personnel are eligible to vote in the Local Government Elections, the first since 1994.