Gecom on Election Day

Frankly Speaking…

Joe Hamilton’s crossover: any meaning?

Up to the time of writing this, President Jagdeo was still awaiting Gecom’s official intimation that it is quite ready and capable to conduct the General and Regional Elections some time before December 2011 ends. (Eds note: The President has since received official notice from Gecom)
See how vitally important Gecom is in your voting lives? I notice too, that the same commission has now decided that it is timely and appropriate to publish “Gecom Updates”. I suppose that is to let you know of some of its preparatory activities which it is deemed alright for you to be made aware about.

Recall though, I had tried to motivate those interested, quite apart from the contesting political parties, to approach this vital commission to tell you-all much more. All in the interest of a nationally-transparent “contract” of understanding and confidence in the ability of Gecom now responsible for the conduct of your elections.

Since it is not too late for such engagements, I am going to risk my own checklist for Polling Day in terms of what both Gecom and the Central Government could/should do to run off a smooth, “everybody-satisfied” elections.

Of course, this is my layman’s “list” and approach and these things must be put in place in good time before elections day itself. Now! And be careful as you read. Some of my suggestions are bound to come off as airy-fairy, far-fetched. (But I’ll stand by their usefulness.)

Gocool’s experience, electorate’s expectations

So do the contesting parties and all their thousands of voting supporters know if the necessary funds are being released by the government to the Commission in the requisite timely fashion?  Right now?  Has not the President and his people promised adequate funding for Gecom? Anything held up? Shucks! In getting ahead of myself. Let me get back to the commission and what should be happening  Right now.

All you voters! Get to know Mr Gocool Boodhoo, the Chief Executive-type officer and in truth, the Chief Steward of everything to do with the holding of the polls.

The virtual General Manager of Guyana’s elections it is Mr Boodhoo who determines Gecom’s complete readiness in terms of the release of funds; the contracts for the supplies of all electoral equipment and materials; the buildings for polling places; the lunches, snacks and transportation for polling day staff; the pre-polling day training of that staff throughout all polling districts; procurement procedures – all the above falls within the purview of Mr Gocool Boodhoo.

Let us pray for the good health of Chief Boodhoo between today and the end of November 2011.  From the Information Technology (monitoring panel) at the commission to the provision of generator, lamps, candles, scotch tape, seals and drinking water, Mr Boodhoo has to ensure that all is, and would be, in place!
Funny that on Tuesday it was Dr Roger Luncheon who made certain announcements.  Besides his chairman we must hear more from Chief Elections Officer, Boodhoo!

What can go wrong

Make that, what usually goes wrong every polling day – and just after?
So the Final List of Electors is as ready as it can be, this time around.  Who is not registered stays not registered, and unable to vote.  It is a reasonable expectation that Gecom can pre-empt difficulties and glitches on Election Day.  And can prevent same. All wisdom and experience to Mr Boodhoo should now have a master checklist – – and the funding for emergencies.
Gecom knows the agencies, external to them, which can impact on the management of the polls – like the police, the THD, the GPL, the telephone companies, the NDCs, selected taxi drivers, private security services, etc, etc, etc.
Is all well?  Cannot all be made well?

My wishes, my dreams?

My own suggestions now can be easily deemed far-fetched, airy-fairy.  But if at all possible, they would contribute to the success of polling day 2011 and the two days after.

Assume that three/four Observer Teams are accredited, identified and offered security.  I hope there are overseas monitors involved as happens all around these days.  Even with their presence however, imagine what delays counting at place of poll and what delays announcements by Gecom in a transparent manner. So, pre-empt the problems and avoid them.

Ask the Brazilians and Venezuelans to loan us the use of two/three proper helicopters for polling day and the day after, I suggest. (To patrol the hinterland; to collect announced results and to aid in security runs – as our private fleets might not do.)
Mobilize the best radio hand-sets to supplement the local telephone utilities’ facilities – for instant, reliable communication on polling day. The “mighty” Brazilians announce results hours after their millions have voted!  Next time I’ll discuss security. Meanwhile, you discuss.

Joe’s Crossover…

As a young voter, then later when a PNC supporter I marvelled at Forbes Burnham’s ability to influence and inveigle defections, especially from the PPP to our paramount party.

The PPP trade unionists, ideologues and others found reasons to switch.
Then when power itself “switched”, I watched the Jeffreys, Lumumbas and Nadirs stride over to power’s corridors. People do have good reasons to change their minds – and their parties, so far be it from me to even think of “political grasshoppers”.

I remember Joe Hamilton, aided and ably abetted by Aubrey Norton and team organizing those massive anti-Janet Jagan, post ‘97 marches and protests in Georgetown.  Fear and some violence was the key. Now imagine Joe joining old Comrade Odinga! Does his defection mean anything significant? Are there any effective messages to a young electorate?

Strange, but I do feel that a few voters will consider Joe’s move. Because he is more a “Jeffrey” than an “Odinga”.  If you know what I mean. I’m not indulging in any profound electoral analysis, I know. But do you realize that some folks just like to stay or join, with winners? So stand by. I hear two other PNC/R/1G personalities will soon join Joe!

Ponder…

*(1)  Suppose the judge finds that Messrs Vieira and Sharma proved “fair comment” and are not guilty as sued by the Bishop? This would mean that Justice Jagdeo’s finding and sentence for four months was prematurely wrong. (Sadly as one who loves proverbs and used CNS TV 6 for near 13 years, let me declare that I feel that (i) the ACB has little credibility because of its composition; (ii) that the Information Minister/President could have used his discretion to defer any penalty and (iii) whenever Mr Sharma is involved, “there is more in the mortar than the pestle”.

*(2) Prime Minister Samuel A A Hinds seems to have become a non-political person. Instantly. Without formally announcing his “retirement”, his party says they will soon reveal their prime ministerial candidate. Poor Sammy.
Did I say “poor?” You mean Sam was not emulating…?

*(3)  Since Dr Luncheon was the authority to contact chairman Mingo about house lots, I hereby appeal to the doc for a refund of my money from the lands people who refused my application for a plot they showed me along the Linden-Soesdyke highway.

Please for my deposit before Elections Day!
*(4) What does the PPP’s Joe Hamilton think of Dr Luncheon’s responses, with respect to ethnic balance(s), in the current court case?
*(5) Great to see chief-of-staff Commodore Best’s image on HIV Billboards.  Please include some lower ranks also. Any plans for domestic violence billboards, army?

’Til next week!

(Comments? allanafenty@yahoo.com)