Nominations Day has come and is gone. The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has already written to eight (8) Political Parties informing them that they are officially eligible to contest the General and Regional Elections on May 11, 2015. Political Parties are in full campaign mode, nationwide. Political advertisements are ubiquitous. And, as is normal during the political campaigning season in Guyana, heated rhetoric is emanating from politicians on both sides of the political divide as they campaign. This rhetoric is raising the political temperature of the nation.
GECOM is noting very carefully the cogent rhetorical overtones during the various campaign rallies being held throughout the country. While politicians and their supporters have the right to campaign for the party of their choice, GECOM would like to remind them that they also have a greater responsibility to campaign respectfully. While recognizing the democratic rights of political parties to enjoy the freedom to campaign, GECOM would like all Political Parties and their supporters to note that everyone – regardless of his or her political persuasion/affiliation – must be able to campaign without threat or fear of intimidation.
Tone down the rhetoric
As the campaign trail gets even hotter and as political leaders try stridently to outdo each other in persuasively appealing to eligible electors for support, rhetorical exuberance can result in a variety of unintended consequences, if not carefully managed. Therefore, GECOM is appealing to all political leaders and their supporters to stay clear of all and any inflammatory political rhetoric.
GECOM is urging all Political Parties to refrain from using oratory that may be provocative, derogatory and insulting. Responsible campaigning must be the order of the day. Political leaders and political party supporters must govern themselves with respect, integrity and dignity. Careful attention must be paid to ensure that no inflammatory behaviour or discourse emanates from any speaker.
Let sober political rhetoric soothe the highly charged political environment that tends to accompany elections in Guyana.
GECOM is calling on all political leaders and candidates to make it very clear to their supporters that violence has no place in democratic elections. Political leaders must guarantee the Guyanese citizenry that they will not incite, support or engage in any kind of violence – before, during, or after the votes are counted – and that the final official elections results will be accepted peacefully.
GECOM is working unremittingly to ensure it delivers elections that are free, fair, credible and transparent. Every area of elections management is being professionally managed by committed competent men and women. GECOM calls on all stakeholders to recognize and support the hard work being done by the Commission and its Secretariat.
Casting flippant and sometimes frivolous aspersions and doubt about the work being done by the hard working men and women at GECOM without irrefutable facts or evidence is reckless and only serves to cast doubt on the electoral process. GECOM is asking for that kind of behaviour to cease immediately! As responsible citizens, we must commit ourselves to ensuring that we establish, support, and maintain an environment of peace and goodwill during this period in Guyana. We can do no less since each of us, individually and collectively, is accountable for any action that we perform or support.
The integrity of the electoral process must be measured by the professional, efficient, effective and transparent electoral management best practices being exercised by GECOM. In the recent past, GECOM has engaged in every action that will ensure that the electoral process is being managed by a cadre of trained professional staff. As a consequence, political parties and their supporters must uphold the request that the May 11, 2015 elections are conducted in a peaceful environment.
It is the right of every eligible elector to go out on May 11, 2015 and vote as early as possible. All of GECOM’s Polling Stations throughout the country will be open from 06:00h to 18:00h.