US Embassy, PSC among organisations reiterate call for Local Gov’t Elections

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US Ambassador to Guyana, Brent Hardt
US Ambassador to Guyana, Brent Hardt

[www.inewsguyana.com] – A number of organisations in Guyana is calling on A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), the Alliance For Change (AFC) and the government to hold the much needed local government elections this year.

A joint statement was issued today (March 5) by the Berbice Chamber of Commerce, the British High Commission, Consultative Association of Guyanese Industry, Embassy of the United States of America, Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Guyana Association of Women Lawyers, Guyana Bar Association, Guyana Manufacturing and Service Association, Guyana Trades Union Congress, High Commission of Canada, Justice Institute, Private Sector Commission and Transparency Institute Guyana Inc.

These organisations are of the view that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is ready for the holding of such elections.

Chairman of the PSC, Ronald Webster.
Chairman of the PSC, Ronald Webster.

“In anticipation of local government elections, the Guyana Elections Commission has been intensifying its preparations and expanding voter education outreach to familiarize people with the voting process.  The Ministry of Local Government has been hosting seminars and workshops with stakeholders to promote voter education.  GECOM’s Chairman has stated that the Commission is fully equipped and ready to stage the elections.  It has already demarcated the boundaries and constituencies in 69 of 71 districts, and each district has been targeted for voter education.  Once a date for elections is announced, GECOM can begin the statutory steps required by law to hold local government elections.  By all accounts, GECOM is well prepared and poised to ensure free, fair and transparent local elections whenever called upon by the government to do so,” the joint statement explained.

The joint statement reminded that throughout 2013, all political parties repeatedly expressed their eagerness for local government elections, their desire to make their case to the voters, and their interest in competing in localities throughout the country. 

“As President Ramotar observed in July, local government elections are ‘badly needed because many of the problems we face are due to the fact that we did not have local government elections.’  The PPP/C, APNU, and the AFC have all begun campaigning in many regions in anticipation of these historic elections.”

According to the joint statement, the legislative foundation is now in place for elections by August 1. 

“The election machinery is ready.  The political parties have reaffirmed their desire to hold local elections and are making campaign preparations.  It is therefore our hope, as the PPP/C, APNU, and AFC pledged in their 2011 election manifestos, that local government elections will be held, “bringing much needed reinvigoration into local government entities.”  That is something all parties and civic stakeholders should agree on in 2014.”

The last local government elections were held in Guyana in 1994.

 

 

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