‘Free and fair elections must be one of the qualities of GECOM’ says Chair

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Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (Retd.) Justice James Patterson

As preparations get underway for the upcoming Local Government Elections (LGE) this November, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) launched its Training of Trainers Programme on Saturday, at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE), Turkeyen.

The two-day exercise session aims to help participants develop an understanding of the organisational structure that will facilitate the efficient conduct of LGE. These trainers will then instruct persons identified to manage the LGE; such as field staff and Returning Officers.

Participants will also be equipped with the knowledge and skills to train officials for LGE; acquaint themselves with a variety of teaching methods for the delivery of content pertaining to LGE; demonstrate competency in the presentation of content pertaining to LGE and become fully knowledgeable of all local government activities.

Chairman of GECOM, (Retd.) Justice James Patterson said ‘free and fair’ elections are one of the qualities that must permeate GECOM and those who function in it.

A section of those who participated in the training programme

In brief remarks at the opening session, he underscored that elections are to no avail if they are not declared ‘free and fair’, adding that although Guyana is in its infancy as an independent state, “we aren’t doing too badly.”

Justice Patterson added that “democracy and free and fair elections are similar to conjoined twins; you cannot get one without the other. You are running the upcoming elections and it is upon your shoulders the twin quality stands. So, at the end of it, all parties can say yes, these elections were free and fair.”

The chairman emphasised the important role GECOM plays in the country, noting that elections commissions across the globe must endure over time since politicians come and go at the behest of the electorate.

He urged the participants to make full use of the training.

GECOM was allocated over $2 billion in order to hold Local Government Elections.

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