By Tracey Khan – Drakes
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Caricom Observer Mission has extended its stay in Guyana in wake of the delayed announcement of the May 11 elections result.
During a press conference at the Caricom Secretariat, Chief Earl Simpson explained that the mission conceded to a request by the Secretary General, Irwin LaRocque, due to the new developments that will further delay the announcement of the next government.
“The process went extremely well…the secrecy of the ballot was protected and respected,” Simpson told reporters.
In this regard the mission is hopeful that the results will be announced before Friday May 15, since the Chief and Deputy Chief of the mission are expected to depart Guyana.
The Observer Mission has declared that elections 2015 was free, fair and transparent since all polling stations were opened on time and the GECOM staff executed their duties with a high level of professionalism.
Simpson added that he and other members of the mission have a wealth of knowledge in observing elections and they were highly impressed with the manner in which GECOM handled the day’s activities.
The Observer Mission noted that the concerns surrounding GECOM are systematic in nature and can only be reformed with a change of certain laws. Simpson has since called on the next government to ensure that reform takes place within GECOM to ensure that Guyanese are no longer subjected to such long delays.
The 10-member team was led by Earl Simpson, Deputy Director of Elections, Electoral Office, Jamaica and Josephine Tamai, Chief Elections Officer.
Earlier in the week a press statement from the mission said their team members arrived at the polling stations at approximately 5:00 a.m. to observe the opening of the poll process.
“There was adequate police presence at the locations. The polling station staff arrived on time with all the necessary election supplies for the conduct of the poll. In the majority of cases, the political party agents of the PPP/C and APNU + AFC were present. The various signage and instructions to the electors were posted.”
Additionally, polling station staff was “properly trained in the execution of their duties…the voting process was conducted according to the procedures and guidelines outlined by GECOM.”
Their overall impression at the polling places and polling stations they visited was that electors were able to exercise their franchise in a peaceful and orderly manner and without incidents. It added that no signs of,“intimidation, harassment, or campaigning to influence or obstruct the democratic process.”