Elections must not divide us – ERC Chair


Chairman of the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) Reverend Dr. John Smith says the elections period does not present a reason for hostility through hate, and that “elections must not be a process that divide us.”

See full statement:


My dear brothers and sisters of Guyana, as we head to the polls on March 02, the Ethnic Relations Commission reiterates its call for peaceful, fair and transparent elections. For this to be realized, it will take the collective effort of all of us regardless of preference.

Voting is a democratic right which enshrines choice. As we exercise the right to choose, we must respect the rights of others to do so. In the process, we must also remain cognizant of the need to be tolerant and respectful of each other, now, during and after March 02.

As we traverse what is historically a sensitive period, all are urged to work in the best interest of Guyana and Guyanese and not be engaged in activities, in any shape or form, that are counterproductive to the fostering of harmony and good relations.

The lessons of history serve as a pertinent reminder of the need for us to collectively chart and embark along a path of togetherness in an effort to lessen tension and to safeguard the welfare of all of our people.

All are therefore encouraged to keep public actions free of intimidation and utterances free of hate, racial and all other forms of incitement. During this, and the subsequent period, let’s demonstrate to ourselves and others that while we will disagree in the process, it is not a reason for hostility through hate, and elections must not be a process that divide us.

While the ERC is heartened by contesting political Parties that have signed the Code of Conduct, the Commission urges that despite whatever challenges may confront us, the spirit and intent of what was agreed to, is respected by all.

This we believe is crucial not only to the process of peace, but a vital component in being able to mitigate incidents that occurred during the campaign and which have the potential to repeat themselves.

Let us also strive to strengthen the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood and to ensure that the will of the Guyanese people is respected following the elections.

On behalf of the Commissioners and Staff of the ERC, I extend best wishes to all involved and remind that peace, during and after the process, is in the hands of all of us.