[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO) wants the political Parties that would be contesting the May 11 General and Regional Elections to sign a peace pact prior to the elections.
The move by the organization is being seen as a strategic effort to ensure that peaceful and responsible political campaigning and elections are held in Guyana.
A statement from the Guyana Elections Commission on Monday, March 30 confirmed that the request was made during a meeting with the Body and GECOM representatives.
Representing the IRO was its Chairman, Rev. Ronald McGarrell, Ms. Jennifer Dwar (Secretary), Mr Neal Bacchus – Assistant Secretary, Mr.Krishnalall Persaud (Vice Chairman), Mr.RajmattiNauth (Treasurer) and Pastor Wendell Jeffrey (PRO).
GECOM was led by its Chairman, Dr. Steve Surujbally. Other key GECOM personnel in attendance were Chief Election Officer, Mr. Keith Lowenfield; Deputy Chief Election Officer, Mr. Vishnu Persaud; Legal Officer, Ms. Juanita Barker; Public Relations Officer, Mr. Richard Francois; Commissioner Sandra Jones; Commissioner Mahmood Shaw; Commissioner Athmaramn Mangar; and Commissioner Charles Corbin.
“Signing a Peace Pact is one critical action the IRO indicated it would like all political parties contesting the General and Regional Elections on May, 11, 2015 to be a part of,” the GECOM statement noted.
In addition to the peace pact, several other peace building initiatives, as well as their involvement in Civic and Voter Education, were also raised by the IRO during the meeting.
GECOM’s Chairman Dr. Steve Surujbally welcomed the initiatives outlined by the IRO and promised that GECOM will provide any help needed by the IRO, within a knowledge sharing framework of election processes and Civic and Voter Education issues.
Dr. Surujbally also outlined the process for organizations applying for and being granted Domestic Observer Status during the May 11elections. In so doing, he carefully underscored some of the key areas to which potential domestic observers must adhere as they get about their respective activities during Election Day.
“GECOM recognizes that violence has no place in democratic elections. Therefore, the Commission would like to echo the call of the IRO in encouraging political parties and supporters alike to behave responsibly, to engage each other with mutual respect, and to refrain from all words and/or actions which may have a tendency to incite, support or provoke any kind of violence – before, during, or after the votes have been counted. Citizens have a responsibility and a right to keep the peace, no matter who wins,” the statement reported.