Police, PPP open hotlines to report Local Govt irregularities

Last Updated on Friday, 21 April 2023, 23:48 by Denis Chabrol

Amid claims and counter-claims of irregularities in the nomination process for the June 12, 2023 Local Government Elections, police said they were probing reports of threats and intimidation against persons who voluntarily decided to participate in the democratic process.

“These acts of unlawful threats and intimidations will not be condoned by the Guyana Police Force,” that law enforcement agency said, noting that some of those incidents occurred during and after Nomination Day in person and on Social Media.

The Police Force said it has since established a 24-hour hotline (226-2917) to take reports from victims of threats and intimidation.

For its part, the governing People’s Progressive Party has also established its own hotline (700-8117) with a solid promise by that party’s General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo that he would ensure that all reports are investigated. “I will personally ensure that every case is fully investigated by the relevant law enforcement agency and strong action is found against those culpable,” he said. Mr Jagdeo asked persons, especially Afro-Guyanese who have been allegedly bullied or threatened by operatives of the People’s National Congress Reform-A Partnership for National Unity on any local government elections to lodge a report.

“My big worry is that particularly in the Afro-Guyanese areas, these people are subjected to these kinds of things; the usual stuff; not so much in the Indian areas,” he said.

A senior PPP official dismissed a claim by PNC-APNU that Cheryl Jacob’s name was used although she died. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the woman signed as a backer two weeks before she passed away and died one week later but the party representative did not do the required checks before submitting the nominees for that area. “They should have exercised more vigilance when the name was submitted to recognise that the lady had passed away but we can get hundreds of backers more,” the official said.

Mr Jagdeo said efforts by PNC-APNU to force PPP backers and candidates out of the LGE would not work but he was concerned that such acts would “affect the growth of the country.”

Across in Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara- Upper Berbice), prominent PNCR member Sharma Solomon on Friday lambasted the PPP for using Guyana’s oil revenues to buy political support. “It is the first time you are going to witness the display of oil money mixed with politics and it is the first time that we will see this in full display at these first local government elections,” he said.

Regional Chairman Deron Adams accused the PPPC-led administration of using taxpayers’ funds to “hold our people hostage” by warning the part-time workers that if they did not participate in the nomination day process on behalf of the governing party, they would have been punished. ”

The Region 10 officials claimed that after nomination day in Linden, a number of people had taken off and dumped a number of PPP jerseys for LGE.

The PPP has denied buying votes, but has instead said it has been attracting more support from Afro-Guyanese.