Elections smooth – GECOM

-early results show poor performance by AFC in city, Whim

Early results from yesterday’s Local Government Elections show poor returns for the Alliance For Change (AFC) in Georgetown and in the hotly contested Corentyne village of Whim.

APNU and the opposition PPP/C appeared to be holding their own in their traditional strongholds while the latter has made inroads in the biggest municipality,  Georgetown.

If the poor results for the AFC are borne out across the country, there may be severe repercussions for it in terms of its relations with coalition partner APNU. The two had been unable to reach an accord on the Local Government Elections and the AFC put a brave face on in deciding to contest on its own.

According to the Guyana Elections Com-mission (GECOM) yesterday’s Local Government Election (LGE) was “a very efficient operation”.

Speaking with Stabroek News at the close of poll Public Relations Officer Yolanda Ward stated that the polling day staff had delivered a smoothly run elections so far and expressed the hope that preliminary results would be available by 9 pm. As of midnight results were released for the municipality of Lethem and several Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) in Essequibo and Berbice.

In Georgetown the voter turnout appeared to be significantly less that the 37.66% which cast their ballots in 2016.

Preliminary results garnered by Stabroek News from Statement of Polls published around the city show the coalition comfortably taking several traditional stronghold of its majority party the People’s National Congress.

Mayor Patricia Chase-Green whose tenure at council has been the subject of major criticism seems set to return to her seat comfortably after a significant majority of her constituency voted for her. As of press time Chase-Green has garnered 701 votes from the stations that had put up results. This is  significantly more than the 205 garnered by  Brian Nobriega  of the AFC , the 25 managed by Maxine Padmore of the  PPP/C and the 6 votes cast for Independent Candidate Herbert Maloney.

The Mayor had also secured the constituency in 2016 with a whopping 3,683 voted miles ahead of her closest competitor Linden Hinds of Team Legacy.

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Deputy Mayor Akeem Peter also appeared to have secured his seat with SOPs showing he had garnered 625 votes which though significantly less than 2,652 he managed in 2016 was much more that the 100 secured by his closest competitor Independent James Hermanstein. In that constituency the PPP/C had so far secured 97 votes while the AFC had secured 66.

The People’s Progressive Party/Civic has however been able to make inroads within the Capital. In 2016 the PPP/C was unable to win any of the constituency seats and made it to the council with two proportional representation placings.

Yesterday, however SOPs appear to show a comfortable win in Constituency 6 – Cummings Lodge, North Central & South Pattensen Turkeyen.

PPP/C candidate Param Persaud has so far secured 1,179 votes compared to the 500 votes secured by APNU’s Andrea Marks and the 97 votes secured by Sylvester Shim of the AFC.

In 2016 the APNU+AFC candidate Lyndon Hillman had managed 2.016 votes compared to 1,366 votes for Tamashwar Budhoo of the PPP/C.

Constituency #2 – Kitty north, Central & South & Subryanville which was won comfortably by the APNU+AFC candidate Carlyle Goring in 2016 has so far proved a bit more difficult to secure.

Goring had secured 1,618 votes but up to press time APNU Candidate Shondel Hope had secured a mere 320 votes compared to an equally small 334 secured by the Nalissa Ferguson of the PPP/C. In 2016 Ferguson had managed a total of 864 votes.

Meanwhile, the flamboyant Astell Collins in Constituency 3 – Bel Air Gardens, Bel Air Springs, Prashad Nagar, North Ease & North West Campbellville had not secured a decisive victory. Available SOPs showed that he had managed 260 votes while Dimitri Ali  of the PPP/C had secured 487 and Patricia Helwig of the AFC had managed a mere 44.

Across all constituencies in the capital the fledgling AFC which chose to contest without its coalition partner fared badly.

Similar results were seen in the Bloomfield/Whim Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC), the hometown of APNU+AFC Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo.

Following a controversy about nominators the PPP/C had filed a court case to have several names signed in support of the candidacy of Mavis Nagamootoo in Constituency 7 of the NDC removed thereby invalidating her candidacy but the case was thrown out.

Results made available from one polling place in the constituency showed the residents have rejected the AFC candidate in favour of the PPP/C candidate Sursatee Ishmael.

At the Whim Nursery school electors voted 216 to 31 in favour of Ishmael.

 Similar results were seen at a private residence where PPP/C candidate Veerana Sewdat defeated the AFC’s Ravindra Lawrence by a margin of 142 to 30. APNU did not contest in this area.

Stabroek News was unable to access other SOPs in this area since contrary to provisions of the Elections Act these SOPs were posted behind locked gates rather then placed in “a conspicuous place outside the polling place as conclusive evidence of the results of the elections at that polling place.”

Meanwhile, results released by GECOM show that Aranaputa/Upper Burro Burro a new NDC in Region 9 voted solidly for the A Partnership for Unity (APNU) coalition which picked up five of the six seats. All the Proportional Representation (PR) seats were won by the coalition as were two of the three constituency seats. The PPP/C Leona Bremner-Dasilva won the seat for Aranaputa (South)/Rupununi River.

In Lethem the PPP/C has secured five seats while the APNU has secured 4 and the AFC managed 1.

Yesterday’s elections were monitored by 98 observers.

In an advertisement in the Sunday Stabroek, GECOM said that in accordance with the Local Authorities (Elections) Act and the General Elections (Observers) Act observers from four countries, the European Union, the Guyana Public Service Commission (GPSU) and the Private Sector Commission (PSC) were accredited.

The largest contingent is from the PSC at 46 followed by the GPSU with 16. The United States has had 20 observers accredited, the United Kingdom 9, Chile 2, and Canada 1. Four observers have been accredited on behalf of the European Union.

A cloud was cast over the elections by the absence of President David Granger who remains in Cuba for medical investigations. He had said that he was going to be back on Sunday to vote yesterday but he has since not been given the all-clear by doctors to travel.

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