Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo says the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) got 28,000 votes more than the governing A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition at the recent Local Government polls.
This “massive win”, or in Dr Jagdeo’s words “a slaughter at the polls” – has seemingly knocked the previously vocal governing coalition into ‘silence’ mode.
Dr Jagdeo, at a news conference he hosted this afternoon at the PPP/C’s Freedom House headquarters in Georgetown, said the PPP/C’s victory at the LGE was massive and significant in the sense that, out of a total of 1,166 seats up for grabs – the PPP/C won 754 (64.7%) while the APNU/AFC won 374 seats (32.2%). This means the Opposition party received twice as many seats than the APNU/AFC.
Dr Jagdeo said what is quite interesting to note is the fact that the PPP/C won 28,000 more votes than APNU/AFC when the voter turnout was just below 50 per cent whereas in the 2015 National Elections, the marginal difference was a mere 5,000 votes.
He also told reporters that several of the official figures released by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) varies from that of the PPP/C. In this regard, he is urging the Commission to move swiftly to correct the inaccuracies.
GECOM’s data indicates that the PPP/C won by 25,000 votes but Jagdeo insisted that the figures gathered by the PPP/C states that the Party won by 28,000.
He explained that GECOM probably did not take into account the areas where there was a no contest like Crabwood Creek and Black Bush Polder.
“If you take 50% of the votes that we got in 2015 and you put it in the PPP column, we would be talking about something like 33000 votes more than APNU/AFC but as it stands now, leaving out those areas… we won 28 thousands more votes than APNU in (local government) elections,” the former President declared.
He pointed out that in the national elections, the difference was less than 5000 votes and what makes this local government poll particularly interesting is a difference of 28,000 votes when the turnout was under 50%.
“This magnifies basically the showing of the PPP because with only a 47% turnout, we won 28,000 more than APNU/AFC; 25,000 by GECOM’s number,” Dr Jagdeo stated.
Notably, the PPP/C has always contended that the 2015 National Elections were not free and fair; and an Elections Petition was consequently filed by PPP/C Member Ganga Persaud and is currently in the Courts.
Meanwhile, Dr Jagdeo reiterated that the PPP/C won massively and now that the elections are over, the focus of the Party would be on the development of the communities that it won.
Moreover, he noted that it is quite fascinating that the APNU/AFC waited so long to comment on the LGE results.
According to Dr Jagdeo, there has been a deafening silence from the coalition Government on its massive loss at the long awaited Local Government Elections; a democratic process it has been pushing for years to be held.
Jagdeo pointed out that the PPP/C pulled significant votes in the Proportional Representation (PR) component of the historical Local Government Elections. This is according to the official results of the Guyana Elections Commission; however, Government has not yet uttered a single word on this landslide victory by the single parliamentary Opposition.
Meanwhile, the results updated on the Election Commission’s website showed the PPP reining in a total 123,564 votes, some 24,894 more than the coalition Government which gained 98,670 votes. The results were made available Tuesday evening, some four days after the election.
The results showed Government retaining significant support in municipalities within Georgetown, Linden, New Amsterdam, Bartica, Mabaruma, and Lethem.
Communities such as Rose Hall and Corriverton in Corentyne, Berbice and Anna Regina in Essequibo went to the Opposition.
Out of the 507,584 eligible voters in LGE, 239,070 persons or 47 per cent voted. Out of the total votes cast, 2744 were invalid.
The GECOM results according to regions show: the PPP/C receiving 1422 votes and the APNU/AFC receiving 1470 in Region One (Barima-Waini).
In Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), the PPP/C secured 11,146 votes while the APNU/AFC secured 3021.
In Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), the PPP/C ran away with 28,983, while the APNU/AFC took 11,896 votes.
In Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), the PPP/C secured 37,692 votes while Government followed with 23,047.
Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice), the PPP moved ahead with 9411, while the APNU/AFC secured 8783.
In Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), the Opposition secured 27,427 votes, while the APNU/AFC received 10,021.
Regions Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) and Nine (Upper Takatu-Upper Essequibo), saw Government leading with 2132 and 662 respectively, while the Opposition followed with 853 and 457 respectively.
In Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice), Government took a sweeping victory by securing 7412 votes, while the Opposition PPP secured a meagre 417.
On March 18, Guyanese went to the polls after more than 22 years. While the turnout was not as expected, Government said it was pleased that persons chose to exercise their franchise in this regard.
The run up to the election saw a number of individuals and groups, along with the major political parties carrying out some rigorous campaigns, for what each said was a move to restore local communities for those who dwell there.
Some persons expressed the view that many Guyanese who were eligible to vote were completely unaware of the importance of the elections and consequently decided not to cast their ballot.
The low voter turnout was compounded by reports indicating that substantial amounts of voters were denied the opportunity to vote.
Reports suggest that residents from certain areas could not locate their correct polling stations; whereas in other cases, there was allegedly no nearby polling place available.
Attempts to contact GECOM officials on the matter proved futile as all calls to their phones went unanswered.
In the lead-up to LGE, the PPP/C parliamentary Opposition raised heaping concerns about the process; the Government’s readiness for the elections and the Election body’s preparedness to host it.
The Party was particularly concerned about a repeat of the General and Regional Elections 2015 where fake Statements of Poll were infiltrated into GECOM’s machinery and where a number of discrepancies plagued the process which was designed to be transparent.
Moreover, GECOM’s voter education campaign is another feature of the LGE which received tons of criticism from all sections of society.
Critics contended that the campaigns commenced too late, adding that it failed to spur excitement among Guyanese, especially first-time voters who were clueless about the process.