AFC not contesting some areas in local polls

-after failing to submit names of candidates on time

David Patterson

Alliance for Change (AFC) campaign manager David Patterson has clarified that the party has clarified that his party is not contesting some constituencies at the upcoming Local Government Elections (LGEs) because it did not submit the names of candidates one time.

Patterson was at the time responding to a question prompted by Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo, who on Thursday asked how the AFC could withdraw candidates from contesting in some constituencies at the upcoming LGE when the time for the withdrawal of names of candidates has passed and the printing of ballots has begun. “What method are they using to pull out?” Jagdeo queried at a media conference held at his Queenstown, Georgetown office on Thursday.

But Patterson told Stabroek News yesterday that the AFC at a press conference on Wednesday said some party candidates did not submit their names on time and therefore they could not contest the polls.

Jagdeo said if the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has printed the ballots and the AFC has pulled out from a number of local authority areas (LAAs) or constituencies, the names of their the candidates and the party would still be on the ballot.

Since GECOM has said that the lists cannot be adjusted as the time for that has passed, he asked, “What mechanism did the AFC used to get GECOM to pull out?”

When the People’s Progressive Party pulled out of contesting the seat in one constituency in the Wakenaam Neighbourhood Democratic Council, he said, the party pulled out within the prescribed period. “That was done legitimately,” he added.

Patterson told Stabroek News yesterday that the names of the candidates would not be on the ballot paper because they were never submitted in the first place and that should have been understood at Wednesday’s press conference.

He said one newspaper reported incorrectly that the AFC had pulled out its candidates and another media house copied that newspaper’s report without verifying.

Patterson said it was the first time that the party was entering the elections and he took blame for what transpired. The late submission by some, he said, was due to the novelty for its members.

They did not name the areas where submissions were not made because it was no longer relevant and they will not affect how voters cast their ballots, he said.

On the filing of three cases challenging a number of issues in relation to GECOM, Jagdeo said, “The reason we are filing these cases is not because we want to be difficult, it is because we have an obligation as a party – a party that could likely form the next government.”

The filing of the cases, he said, “is to protect people’s rights and not just the rights of the members of the People’s Progressive Party and to ensure that our constitution and the laws of Guyana are not interpreted capriciously by GECOM or this government to the detriment of Guyana.”

The case he referred to challenges the appointment of GECOM chairman Justice James Patterson, the creation of 15 new LAAs and a court action filed by a candidate for the PPP, who is seeking to have the listing of 50 names, including his, as official nominators of AFC candidates voided.

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