Calling for calm, clean, efficient elections and early results come next year, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) on Friday said that all of this can be achieved if there is no fear or intimidation of the Guyana Elections Commission (Gecom).
“APNU expressed its support for measures to ensure the protection of the independence of the commission from political interference and the protection of the integrity of the electoral process from contamination that plagued previous elections,” APNU Leader David Granger said.
He pointed out that from his party’s assessment transparent elections can be had and the results made available early. “We feel that we could have election results by six o’ clock next morning… We certainly don’t expect to have results after three or four days and still get the arithmetic wrong,” he said.
And even as chief party scrutineer Amna Ally made it clear that the next elections won’t see the use of voter machines, Granger said there were sufficient modern technological mediums that could be used to channel voter information from outlying areas to Gecom to achieve this objective. Said Granger, “It is our view that elections results and statements of polls could actually be photographed and transmitted in a matter of seconds.”
APNU was the first political party to meet with Gecom, on Wednesday, to discuss the commission’s readiness for general elections early next year and Granger gave a synopsis of matters discussed.
He said his party made a formal complaint to Gecom about the current administration’s “blatant, extravagant and unrepentant misuse of state resources” during their current campaigning.
Party Campaign Manager Winston Felix also bemoaned what he called the use of state resources for political work.
“We dealt with the issue of the issue of campaign funds which we feel puts one party at a disadvantage to the other… There is a straight line between state and party so if a state official is also a party official it is not justified that the state official on party duties makes use of state resources for his work,” Felix said.
However Granger pointed out that the elections body does not have the necessary powers to prevent government campaign spending. “There is no actual law… to scrutinize the executive and to prevent misuse of those resources; it simply does not have the capability under the law,” he said.
“It is a question of persuasion because what we saw taking place …we felt there was obviously a deployment of a significant amount of finance to further the PPP interest in the campaign but Gecom cannot stop it,” he added.
Granger said his party is also objecting to private residences being used as polling stations on elections day urging that Gecom rectify this and that changes of location be kept to a minimum.
This request was explained further by Ally who said that during the 2011 General Elections there were instances where the landlords of buildings intervened in what should be Gecom’s business.
“We do not want any venue that can be compromised. The onus is on Gecom to look for alternative… polling day stations. We strongly object to people’s premises being used,” she stated.
The party is also calling on suitably qualified members of the public to seek employment with Gecom as the commission has indicated that there was a serious staffing issue and currently there are not enough personnel to serve the 2,260 polling stations come next elections.