…says CARICOM Observer Mission
A PRELIMINARY statement issued last evening by the CARICOM Electoral Observer Mission said that Guyanese on Monday last were given the opportunity, ‘under good conditions’ to elect a government.
The 19 persons comprising the team were deployed in eight teams of two each and one of three to cover Election Day activities.
On Election Day, one team was deployed in Regions 3, 5 and 10 respectively; two teams to Region 4 and four teams to Region 6.
In addition to the “Scope of Services” provided by the CARICOM Secretariat, the teams were further advised to pay special attention to:
(i) the opening of the poll;
(ii) the voting process;
(iii) the environment at polling stations; and
(iv) the closing of the poll and the count.
Members of the mission visited a significant number of polling stations which provided them with adequate opportunity to make a good overall assessment on the conditions in those areas. The polling stations opened on time and it was clear to team members that the officials representing GECOM and the Chief Elections Officer were well trained and prepared for the tasks,” the statement said.
During the early hours of the poll, observers noticed long lines at the polling stations; but inspite of that, the behaviour was very good. The officials remained calm and focused and the observation is that the process was transparent and in those circumstances electors were able to give free expressions of their feelings when casting their ballots. It is to be noted that despite the long lines immediately after the polls opened, by mid-morning the lines were reduced significantly.
During the day, the electoral officials continued to perform well and the procedures as laid down by GECOM were adequately followed.
At the closing of the poll at the 15 polling stations where this was observed, there was no one waiting in line to cast a vote at 6:00pm., hence only the officials, police and observers witnessed the closing of poll.
No issues arose with the counting of the ballots. All the observers took part in that process and were satisfied with the proceedings.
“The mission’s assessment of election day is that the people of Guyana were given the opportunity under good conditions to elect a government,” the statement concluded.
A full report on the mission’s findings and recommendations will be submitted to the Secretary-General of CARICOM.