GECOM agrees to increase polling places

GECOM’s sign on the privately-owned Windsor Estates gate

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has agreed to increase the number of polling places in certain areas, in light of concerns raised by stakeholders including the private sector and political opposition.

The decision was made following hours of discussion between GECOM and a PPP/C delegation led by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.

The team also included Presidential Candidate Dr Irfaan Ali, former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall and the party’s chief scrutineer, Zulfikar Mustapha.

When Jagdeo addressed the media outside of GECOM, he informed that they raised concerns about specific areas such as Mon Repos and Foulis on the East Coast of Demerara (ECD) and Chesney village on the Corentyne. According to him, at least 12 additional polling places will be required.

After Jagdeo and team left, the GECOM Secretariat continued with their meeting. At the end of that statutory meeting, GECOM Commissioner Sase Gunraj informed the media that a decision was taken to find ways to increase the number of polling places in these locations.

“I’m happy to report we took decisions that will resolve all those issues. I paid a visit to the Mon Repos Primary and Nursery Schools over the weekend. And you had a total of 18 Polling Stations in a fairly small place. Logistically, that would have created a nightmare.”

“In Mon Repos, additional polling places are being implemented [by GECOM]. There will not be that congestion. They will be moving some of the Polling Stations from those two schools to other locations,” Gunraj said, though he could not say if private residences or tents would be used.

According to Gunraj, these new locations will be determined by the CEO and will take into consideration the logistics of the area and the distance from which voters will have to travel. He confirmed, however, that all 12 additional polling places will be established.

“I am hoping and it is my personal belief, that the CEO can do that within 24 hours,” Gunraj said.