The fundamental challenges which exist in Guyana’s electoral system may not be there in the next few years. On Wednesday, a team from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) met with the Attorney General, Basil Williams and his affiliates to discuss what kinks in the electoral system would be looked at, and how best they might be addressed.
UNDP’s team consisted of Mr. Hassan Sesay, Senior Electoral/Political Affairs Officer; Ms. Fernanda Lopes, Election/Governance Expert; and Mr. Guillermo Kendall, Senior Political Affairs Officer.
The Minister of Legal Affairs was accompanied by Chief Parliamentary Council, Mr. Charles Fung-a-Fatt SC; Ms. Joann Bond, Solicitor General; Ms. Kim Kyte, State Solicitor; Ms Ayana McCalmon, and Legislative Drafting Consultant, Mrs. Ananda Dhurjon.
The meeting between the UNDP and the Attorney General was based on a request by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). The Commission believes that the timing for this intervention by the UNDP couldn’t be better as Guyana is set to hold Local Government Elections this year and General Elections in 2020.
In a missive sent out to the media fraternity, the UNDP explained that the aim of the visit was to discuss with Attorney General, the purpose of its renowned Needs Assessment Mission (NAM). The Mission will endeavour to evaluate the current and electoral environment in Guyana, and assess the form of future UN electoral assistance. NAM will recommend the type of assistance that should be provided and the parameters, including the length of assistance, and modalities that will govern such assistance.
Guyana Standard understands that the discussion between Williams and the UNDP team covered a spectrum of issues that will be dealt with in preparation for the Local Government and the General elections. Those issues are: the results tabulation process and developing the necessary software to expedite the process, the biometric instrument used at polling stations, verifications of electoral listings, and ensuring security at the polling stations.
The UNDP stated that it will render support and guidelines in those capacities and where else necessary. At the end of the visit, a report will be prepared with recommendations which will be submitted to UNDP’s Guyana headquarters.
Minister Williams guaranteed his support in this process between GECOM and UNDP.