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GECOM, PSC report smooth Local Govt polls; GECOM to post results on website

Last Updated on Monday, 12 June 2023, 19:26 by Denis Chabrol

At the PSC’s LGE Observation Command Centre: A foreign observer and a PSC member view the real-time app that assisted PSC observers in the field.

The Private Sector Commission (PSC), which observed Monday’s Local Government Elections (LGE), said polling was free and fair, even as the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) said results could start coming in from about 10 O’clock Monday night.

“Although voter turnout has been low, the PSC Observers, along with the UK (United Kingdom) Observer and AMCHAM (American Chamber of Commerce) Observers, perceive the process as free, fair, and well-managed,” that umbrella business organisation said in a statement.

Chief Election Officer, Vishnu Persaud said all of the logistical plans were executed to allow for the opening of polls at 6 AM and throughout the day, he was pleased with the way the machinery worked. “Throughout the day, I have no reports that can give me any impression that the entire process did not go smoothly,” he said. Asked specifically whether there were any irregularities and how were they addressed, he said, “I did not have anything that can cast aspersions on the manner in which the polls were conducted.”

He said results would be declared by Returning Officers in the Local Authority areas, and systems were in place for GECOM to post them on its website. “I have put something in place for all of them to send me a snap of those results that I will forward to the IT (Information Technology) people to put up on our website,” he said.

At the same time, the PSC said it would recommend improved voter education for the 2025 general and regional elections, as observers picked up a number of instances in which voters could not have easily found their polling stations at polling places. “We think that some voter education or more voter education needs to take place and persons need to know the procedure so when you go to the polling station, you have a clear idea as to what is it that is required of you,” PSC Executive Director, Ian Lee Chung told Demerara Waves Online News.

According to the PSC, the presiding officers were in control, and no reports of disenfranchised voters have been received. That private sector body said persons with and without identification cards were allowed to vote after proper verification.

Earlier Monday, Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton said that, at the St. Paul’s Primary School, Victoria Road, Plaisance, he urged polling station officials to ensure that the particulars on national identification cards be made visible to all of them.

After covering 50 polling places and more than 80 polling stations, the PSC said its observers have reported a smooth process. “Initially, there were challenges with a single information clerk handling multiple polling stations, but the polling agents were courteous and knowledgeable, following all the prescribed procedures,” the PSC added.

Mr Lee said after the PSC contacted GECOM, that election management authority dispatched a circular to make more persons available to polling places with several polling stations to provide information to electors.

The PSC said a number of persons had reported that they could not find their names on the master lists, but the Information Clerk did so and guided them to the polling station.

Meanwhile, the PSC said it was now equipped with a computerised application that allows observers to log in and see the status real time at any of the polling stations, the number of persons entitled to vote and information about emergency services in that neighbourhood. “In this command centre, we are able to assist all our field staff for today’s activity so they are out on the ground sending in information. If there are any hiccups, we are able to provide them with specific location and should anything happen, we have data running behind this application that will help them to navigate to safety,” said the architect of the app, PSC Treasurer, Hemwant Persaud.

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June 2023