Some residents of the Indigenous settlement at Moraikobai, Mahaicony Creek have raised concerns over the recently concluded Toshao elections in the village. In their opinion the election held in the community, was not a “free and fair” process and are calling for a new election.
A concerned resident who spoke to Stabroek News, on the condition of anonymity, stated that at the conclusion of the elections on Friday last, no one was declared the Toshao of the village.
The resident pointed out that the presiding officer of the elections, Ovid Morrison, Regional Executive Officer of Region Five, was unable to declare a winner after he found some of their allegations to have “weight”.
Efforts by Stabroek News to contact Morrison proved, futile but sources from the region relayed that a team is expected to return to the village today. It is expected that the concerns of the residents will be addressed during the visit.
Current Toshao Collin Adrian and resident Derek John contested the polls.
The resident related that a number of irregularities by the village council were found during the preparation for the elections, and they would like to see the issues addressed.
“The (Amerindian) Act gives us guidelines on what should be done when preparing for an election. We found the village council breaching these guidelines,” the resident said.
“The act says that the list of voters must be published 60 days before the elections to allow for scrutinizing, but the council only published the list 14 days before, and a lot of names were missing,” the resident contended.
He also stated that after a thorough scrutinizing of the list, some of the residents found names of persons who were not qualified to vote on the list, while the names of persons who were eligible to vote were not on the list.
“People who didn’t vote in the past 15-20 years and have not been in the community were on the list. People who married and came into the community were on the list, and the ones who have been living in Moraikobai were not on the list,” the concerned resident commented.
He noted that after they raised the issue days before the elections some names were added.
Further, he added that a few days before the June 8th elections, the village council informed the residents that the elections would be postponed to address the issues of the names on the voter’s list. However, a day before the elections the council announced that the elections would be held on the initial date set.
“They announce that they were advised to postpone the elections, and persons who had returned home to vote left and returned to work saying they would return for the elections. After these people left that is when they (the council) return to the village, and said that the elections would be on Friday,” the resident stressed further.
The villager pointed out that on the day of the election residents who were upset raised the concerns with Morrison.
However at the end of the day, he said that Morrison informed the group of concerned residents that he would have to consult with the officials in Georgetown and report later to them.
“We want good sense to prevail over this election, and all we are asking for is that the authorities iron out the issues, so we as residents can have an election that is free and fair,” he declared.