By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Dr Steve Surujbally has expressed concern over the growing public distrust of the electoral body.
Surujbally, speaking at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Thursday afternoon, said that GECOM has shown itself to be more than capable of carrying out its duties without bias, therefore the distrust is worrying.
“It worries me when I see the distrust being shown, we have given this country no cause, over the last two elections to distrust us,” said Dr Surujbally.
He noted that while GECOM has made some significant strides in the past, the Commission can only continue on that trajectory if there is some amount of public trust in the Commission by those directly affected, that is to say, the local electorate and political stakeholders.
“We will not come further if there is distrust at home,” he noted adding “I am saying with no shame that we have reach the stage where we can get or ask to get ISO certification for the type of election that we can do.”
It was noted too that the international community has time and time again expressed its trust in GECOM to carry out its mandate and according to the Chairman, it should not be hard for a similar amount of trust to be shown by local stakeholders.
“The people and the government of Canada have the trust in GECOM and for me that is of great import. If the international development partners can reach this stage where they say it is worth our while to invest in elections in Guyana, it must mean that they have some belief and trust in us in a commission,” Dr Surujbally said.
He further noted that the populace should “Trust GECOM, walk with GECOM. We are the purveyors of truth; we have nothing to gain by untruths.”
Meanwhile, Canadian High Commissioner Dr Nicole Giles who also delivered remarks at the signing of the MoU noted that free, fair, and peaceful elections are important to any democracy.
She said that Canada has a high level of confidence in GECOM’s ability to deliver on its elections mandate.
She said that the Canadian government is hopeful that Guyana will be able to implement several pertinent recommendations coming from the electoral observers post 2011 polls.
“Canada is hopeful that the upcoming elections process will allow the Guyanese people to debate the important issues that are affecting the society” said Giles.
The initiative will see some 100 laptops being donated to the Commission, which will be used at polling places across the country in the May 11 polls.