THE envoys of Britain, Canada and the US have reported that the General and Regional Elections were free of irregularities as they called on Guyanese to exercise patience while awaiting the results of the polls.The Private Sector Commission (PSC), which also observed the elections, echoed similar sentiments. They all emphasised the need for the political parties that contested the elections to accept the results which will be declared by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
Briefing the media yesterday at a joint press briefing, Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Dr Nicola Giles told reporters that GECOM had done a fantastic job.
“The Guyana Elections Commission organised an overall smooth, credible, free and fair electoral process. I congratulate the Chairman, Dr Steve Surujbally, the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, the commissioners and all GECOM staff and officials for the successful culmination of many months of hard work and planning,” she said.
The Canadian High Commission had teams in Regions Three and Four, while Dr Giles personally visited centres at Skeldon, Region Six; Linden, Region 10; and Anna Region, Region Two.
Dr Giles said based on her observation, there was high enthusiasm among voters. This, she said, is very commendable on their part as they have chosen to have their voices heard by casting their ballots.
“The people of Guyana have spoken through the ballots they cast on May 11. I urge all Guyanese and stakeholders to practice patience and allow GECOM to now do their work to deliver the official results. It is important to remember that the only official results are those that are tabulated and issued by the designated official elections body—GECOM.”
Several weeks ago, the political parties contesting the elections signed the Code of Conduct for Political Parties in an expression of their commitment to a peaceful election process and acceptance of the results.
ACCEPT THE RESULTS
“I hope that all political parties continue to remind their supporters of their commitment to respect the democratic process and accept the official GECOM results,” the diplomat said.
She said Canada is committed to working with the new government, whoever has been declared the winner in the General and Regional Elections.
British High Commissioner James Gregory also commended GECOM for a job well done in managing the voting process. He too said GECOM should be given time to accurately tabulate the results.
“We need to give GECOM time to deliver the results and to deliver an accurate tally of results. Only GECOM can give you a result, anything else you hear from any other organisation should not be considered valid results. We must give GECOM the time to come to that result. And once that result is done, everybody needs to accept that result,” he said.
Gregory pointed out that persons who have problems with the results and the process should follow the judicial process in addressing their grievances.
“Everyone must accept the results, what this country needs is what this country wants — a government that can represent everybody here. So I hope that all the leaders of all the political parties will do what they can to encourage their supporters to accept that result and work through the process.”
On Elections Day, the US had 69 international observers, who visited nine regions, monitoring in total 900 polling stations.
US Charge d’Affaires Brian Hunt reported that there was no irregularity in the polling process, contending that, “What Guyana had yesterday (Monday) was a free and fair and credible polling process.”
The electorate is waiting for the results to be tallied, and Hunt is asking everyone to exercise patience.
“You have a painstaking process that is designed primarily to give you credibility in the results when the chairman certifies them to the Guyanese people. We want the results here to be credible. Our observers as we speak now are watching at each of the returning officers as the votes are being tabulated, watching at the GECOM central tabulation centre at headquarters and they are going to be there until the time when the work is finished and the chairman issues his final statement of results.”
But for now, he said, the watchword is patience, as he expressed hope that all the political parties and their supporters will accept the final results from GECOM.
“What we hope to see is a process where everything remains calm, everything remains peaceful and everyone works towards political reconciliation among the Guyanese people so that when the next government does take office, they are able to move forward with an agenda that represents the needs of all the people of Guyana and works in the best interest of all the people of Guyana,” Hunt said.
The PSC collaborated with several overseas observers to monitor the elections on Monday.
Chairman of the Private Sector Commission Ramesh Persaud praised the dedication of the staff at GECOM and also commended GECOM for an excellent job in managing the process on Monday.
While there have been some hiccups, Persaud said the commission has found nothing material to affect the outcome of the results.
“We believe that once GECOM would have pronounced on the results, it would have been an accurate result,” he said.
By Tajeram Mohabir