CONCERNS have been raised by the Organisation of American States (OAS) observer mission to Guyana at the escalation of “provocative language” being used in the run-up to the May 11 General and Regional Elections.Consequently, the group, which has a preliminary team in Guyana, has called on all stakeholders to engage in a respectful exchange of ideas during the political campaign.
“The Mission urges all political parties to review, sign and implement as soon as possible, the Code of Conduct prepared and circulated for approval by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) with the intention of preventing divisive and inflammatory language during the electoral campaign,” the OAS said in a statement on Wednesday.
The Code of Conduct for political parties is a guide to expected behaviours in the lead-up to the May 11 General and Regional Elections.Once political parties sign onto the Code of Conduct, it is expected that they would abide by the protocols documented in the Code, all in the interest of free and fair General and Regional Elections.
The advantage of having such an agreement in place, according to GECOM, relates to being able to guard against confrontational and vitriolic election campaign meetings/rallies and statements.GECOM regards contesting parties signing the Code as demonstrating their willingness to craft their respective election campaign strategies in ways that contribute to the maintenance of peace and tranquility throughout and beyond the elections.
On a lighter note, the OAS team met with a wide range of political party representatives in the country during its preliminary mission.
“The mission witnessed a general consensus among all stakeholder parties regarding the importance of a calm and civil environment during the electoral process,” the OAS said.
The full OAS elections observer mission is expected to be in Guyana in early May, according to its country representative, Jean Ricot Dormeus. The OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza,has designated former Foreign Minister and Ambassador of Belize to the OAS, Lisa Shoman, as Chief of Mission.
The OAS observed elections in Guyana in 1997, 2001, 2006 and 2011.(Vanessa Narine)