LGE 2018: AFC to contest 38 Local Authority Areas

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….as PPP/C applicant mysteriously disappears from GECOM’s list

As the Alliance for Change (AFC) continues its campaign for the upcoming Local Government Elections (LGE), the party announced plans on Wednesday to contest 38 Local Authority Areas (LAA’s).

The AFC on Wednesday announced plans to contest in less local government areas than it had intended.

Party officials revealed that the party will be contesting the elections in 38 local authority areas.

Initially, the party had planned to contest the elections in more than 50 areas.

“The party is confident and excited about its chances at LGE 2018. We are fielding more 160 candidates with the majority being under the age of 40, we will also be contesting in 38 of the 80 local authorities in Guyana” the party announced.

AFC officials are blaming a number of issues for the decision, including political bullying and a problem of communication.

The party’s campaign manager David Patterson, told the media that the party is still moving forward and still satisfied with where it finds itself.

“The campaign now moved into a next stage which obviously over the next four weeks will be different activities countrywide” Patterson said.

Patterson says he endorses the hosting of public debates and has expressed his party’s willingness to participate in any such event as the time draws closer for the Local Government Elections.

“We do feel that there should be a debate among candidates particularly in the larger constituencies, constituencies like Georgetown, Linden, Bartica, New Amsterdam and Rose Hall should have a public debate” Patterson suggested.

However, Patterson says that the AFC will not organize any such debates as it may be viewed as a strategy to dominate. Nevertheless the party is willing to participate in any event organized by any civil society group or organization in Guyana.

Disappearing act

Meanwhile the People’s Progressive Party (PPP’s) legal challenge to the validity of the AFC’s list of backers is set for hearing at the Berbice High Court tomorrow.

Whim/Bloomfield Neighbourhood Democratic Council constituency candidate for the PPP, Shafraz Beekham has filed a legal challenge against GECOM to ensure that the names “fraudulently affixed” to the backer’s lists for the AFC at this year’s LGE are removed.

Ahead of Thursday’s hearing by Justice Navindra Singh in Berbice, the applicant’s attorney, Anil Nandall is claiming that his client’s name has somehow disappeared from the purportedly fraudulent list.

“Yesterday at a GECOM meeting a list was produced by the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowingfield purporting to be the very list that you are complaining against and outrageously your name Safraz Beekham was absent on that list. Our list has the Returning Officer (RO) stamp on it, that is the list that we are complaining against, we have a copy of that list” Nandlall complained.

The Chief Elections Officer and RO Orlando Christopher Persaud are the respondents in the matter but the attorney suggested that this allegedly redrawn list is geared to derail his case.

Nandlall stated “the name was obviously deleted so that they can go to the Court tomorrow to say look, this man who is complaining that his name was fraudulently procured and placed on that list, his name is not on the list. But the manufacturing seems to have taken place in GECOM itself”.

The Party is also seeking to have the names of 50 electors, removed from the AFC’s list in the Berbice NDC under question.

The current case is just one of several actions filed ahead of the November 12 polls.

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