THE Education Ministry on Wednesday announced that all public schools will be closed on Monday, November 12, 2018, to facilitate the holding of Local Government Elections.
Next Monday, when 573, 000 eligible voters are expected to vote within the 80 Local Authority Areas (LAAs), many public schools will be transformed into polling stations. According to the Guyana Elections Commission, voting will take place at 1,674 polling stations countrywide.
In a notice on Wednesday, the education ministry said: “Parents and Guardians please be advised that all public schools will be closed on Monday November 12th 2018 to facilitate the holding of Local Government Elections (LGEs). School will reopen on Tuesday, November 13th 2018. Thank you for your cooperation.”
Last Friday, less than 40 per cent of the police, soldiers and prison guards listed to vote in the Local Government Elections voted when the polling stations were opened to facilitate early voting by the disciplined services.
A total of 7,917 members of the disciplined services were deemed eligible to vote, but only 3,147 or 39.7 per cent of them did, according to the GECOM Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield.
Only 1,938 members of the Guyana Police Force voted in the Local Government Elections from a list of 4,693.
In the case of the Guyana Defence Force, he detailed that 2,773 soldiers were listed on the Official Voters’ List but less than half – 1,022 – cast their ballots. The Guyana Prison Service had a total of 451 eligible voters, but only 187 exercised their democratic right to elect their local leaders. Ballots were cast at 63 locations across the country. However, those law enforcers who were unable to vote will have another opportunity to so do on Monday.
In March 2016, when Local Government Elections were held after 22 years, only 43% of the eligible voters did. However, with increased public awareness, it is hoped that a greater percentage of persons would turn out on polling day to cast their ballots.