By Radha Motielall
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Canada’s High Commissioner to Guyana Dr. Nicole Giles is advising political parties and the Guyanese people, for next week, to “practice patience.”
In an invited comment to iNews, Dr. Giles stressed the fact that the accurate collection and tabulation of votes takes time. As such she said “there should be no attempts to announce or predict winners, except by the designated, official elections body – GECOM”.
The High Commissioner advised that “to do otherwise is potentially inflammatory and could complicate the process of getting the official result out quickly”.
She noted that “Internationally, we have seen that the best safeguard for free and fair elections is to let the elections officials do their work. This will require patience on behalf of the political parties, and the Guyanese people”.
Dr. Giles said Canada remains committed to working with GECOM, all political parties, stakeholders and civil society to support free, fair and peaceful elections on May 11.
The High Commission observed the Disciplined Services vote on May 2, 2015; a total of eight polling stations, including for the police, armed forces and Coast Guard were observed.
Dr. Giles told iNews that she “was pleased to see the enthusiasm of the Disciplined Services to cast their ballots, and look forward to seeing the same enthusiasm from the general public on May 11”.
The High Commission will also be fielding a team of observers on May 11. Meanwhile, Dr Giles commended GECOM for its efforts in facilitating the smooth voting process on Saturday las. She further stated that “Canada has confidence in GECOM’s ability to deliver free and fair elections on May 11.
Speaking to the ongoing political campaign, Dr. Giles said she is “disappointed by the campaign rhetoric, in particular over the past few weeks. Provocative, inflammatory and disrespectful language is damaging and distracts from a meaningful discussion of the issues that are facing Guyana. It is divisive and lowers the level of political debate”.
She said it is crucial that all political parties abide by the commitments they made in signing the Code of Conduct for Political Parties.
The Canadian Diplomat said supporters should also be reminded of their commitment to respect the democratic process and to act within the bounds of the law. She reminded that adherence to the Code is not merely symbolic, but that it is also a meaningful, public pledge and is there to protect Guyana’s democratic process.