Elections commissioners mum on readiness for local gov’t polls

Elections commissioners are shying away from pronouncing on the readiness of the Guyana Elections Commission (Gecom) to hold local government polls.

Queries to members of the commission were directed to Chairman Dr Steve Surujbally, in light of the ruling party’s announcement last week that the government-nominated representatives had indicated that Gecom was not ready for the polls.

“We took a decision that whoever wants to know about Gecom’s readiness will write the commission

Mahmood Shaw
Mahmood Shaw

and the Chairman would issue a statement on behalf of the commission,” government-nominated commissioner Mahmood Shaw told Stabroek News on Tuesday.

Shaw explained the stance taken, saying, “There were a lot of rumors and a lot of who said that and that and we don’t know who really said what.

So, we say: write the commission and get a statement from [it] as a commission.”

Other commissioners, who requested anonymity, have also said that they will not individually comment and that all questions should be forwarded to Surujbally.

The other members of the commission are Athmaram Mangar and Dr Keshav Mangal, who are government nominees and Vincent Alexander, Charles Corbin and Sandra Jones, who are opposition nominees.

Stabroek News was told that Surujbally and Corbin are currently in South Africa.

PPP General Secretary Clement Rohee last week said that government-nominated commissioners were doubtful about the commission’s readiness to hold local government elections.

“We get the distinct impression from our commissioners that it doesn’t seem that they are ready for local government elections,” he had told a news conference last week.

His announcement came in wake of the opposition using its majority in the National Assembly to pass an amendment that calls for the holding of the polls before August 1, 2014.

Government did not support the bill and it is unclear whether the president would assent to the amendment bill.

 

Gecom has said that while it cannot and will never act outside of its authority by demanding local government elections be held, it is fully prepared and committed to move formally into an election mode with immediacy after a day to hold the elections was declared by the Minister of Local Government and Regional Development.

The PPP General Secretary said that the PPP is fully prepared to go to local government elections.

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