Visiting journalists express views on Guyana elections

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INTERNATONAL journalists are among those whose attention has been attracted by Guyana’s 2011 General and Regional Elections.
They are here to examine the electoral process and to get a general feel of the pre and post elections atmosphere, with some arriving weeks prior to Elections Day, November 28.

Two of them, between press briefings and updates by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), took the opportunity to share their experiences and their impressions with the Guyana Chronicle.
“What I have found in this election, the week before was quite peaceful, it was competitive but there was nothing untoward, as such, in the days leading up to Elections Day itself. One, looking on for the first time, would be pleasantly surprised at the heavy turnout in voting. If researched, you would know that, in 2006, there was significant voter apathy,” said Ricky Jordan from Barbados Nation newspaper.
Mr. Jordan is an experienced reporter and Assistant Editor and has previously observed elections in Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.
He explained that he was also surprised by the heavy voter turnout around the city, on Elections Day itself.
Alluding to his observations, Jordan said: “From 05:30hrs in the morning, we were out at Enterprise High School and there were already over 100 people at the building.”
In addition, there have been mostly positive reviews from the heads of several observer missions, including CARICOM and the Organisation of American States (OAS), he added.
Despite this, the Barbadian journalist expressed concern over the delays in announcing the results of balloting.
“What is concerning is the delays in the results. Clearly the geography of the country would make transportation difficult, while I could compare it to St. Lucia which also had its elections on November 28 and knew the results by nightfall,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Venezuelan Maleida Garcia highlighted the differences between the electoral process in her native land and Guyana.

She said: “In Venezuela the political situation is a bit more polarised and complicated because of the differences between the opposition and the party in power and the process there is totally automated, because it is a very big country and that’s the big difference between the two countries.”
Also of importance is the fact that, the citizens of Guyana appear to be highly educated, civilised and confident, Garcia remarked.
“They have a lot of trust even though the votes are counted manually. That’s a great lesson for the world as a whole and especially Latin American countries where the elections are automated and yours are manual and there is still a high level of trust in the results,” she pointed out.