[www.inewsguyana.com] – A high level team led by General Secretary Clement Rohee of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) met with the Guyana Elections Commission’s (GECOM’s) Chairman, Dr. Steve Surujbally at their Head Office in Kingston, Georgetown on Monday, January 13.
The Party in a statement this afternoon said the two hour long meeting saw the two sides engaging in frank discussions which they both concluded will contribute to free and fair elections thus satisfying the test of international best practices.
The meeting was in direct response to the request made by the PPP to discuss issues of concern to the Party and the opportunity to quiz GECOM on their plans to deal with issues that had impacted negatively on the 2011 elections and systems in place to prevent a recurrence in the anticipated 2015 elections.
“The meeting was very cordial and fruitful with a number of issues discussed and possible solutions brought to the table. Importantly, GECOM has agreed to engage in wider consultations with major political stakeholders and other interest groups in dealing with concerns that poses possible threats to the electoral process and in taking key decisions that will affect the electorate,” the statement noted.
The PPP General Secretary regarded this as the high point of the meeting; noting that the PPP has always been the front runner in calling for more inclusivity and collaboration at GECOM.
Among the issues raised and discussed were:Selection of Polling places and Public Awareness; on this note, GECOM indicated that steps will be taken to avoid as far as practicable the use of private residences as Polling Stations and to avoid last minute changes to Polling places
Further, the PPP delegation was informed that GECOM’s Permanent staff will serve as Information Clerks as against the inexperienced and lesser qualified staff.
Among other issues raised were recruitment of GECOM’s Polling Day Staff, folio for Polling Agents and rights and privileges of Candidates.
The PPP delegation reminded GECOM of the 2011 horrors experienced by PPP candidates and insisted that they should have never been allowed.
PPP reminded that during ‘E’ Day 2011, PPP candidates including the Party’s current General Secretary were denied their rights and prevented from entering polling stations, especially in Region 4.
The PPP General Secretary reminded GECOM too that the PPP fought long and hard for the implementation of electoral reforms and for the people of Guyana to enjoy free and fair elections.
These gains he said should be upheld and not be frittered away. The parties agreed to meet again, within a short time, to continue discussions on other issues which will ensure that future elections are transparent and credible.