Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo is calling for international presence at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), as regional and general elections loom.

During a media conference today, Jagdeo said that having international presence is vital in hosting credible elections. He accused the former Chairman of the Commission, Justice (Retired) James Patterson and government-aligned commissioners, of not following up on requests made by the United Nations (UN) in the past, to assist the commission in its work.

“Before 2014, we had international staff imbedded in the commission. The APNU (A Partnership for National Unity)Commissioners and the Chairman that was there, Mr. Patterson, requested help from the UN [and] when the UN said no house-to-house registration, they refused. The UN tried to meet with them several times, they refused to meet. Until now, that offer is there on the table.” Jagdeo said.

He said too, that the need for international presence at the commission is urgent since “some elements” are acting unconventionally.

“So, you need another pair of eyes,” He declared.

Jagdeo stated further that all political parties vying for the upcoming elections should champion the need for such an intervention.

“If the president is concerned about credible elections, how come he is not making the case that we can get a lot of international help, etcetera. They [government] don’t want that, but the commission – the independent commission – should seek international help immediately to look at polling day activities, to look at the integrity of the Voters’ List [and] the tabulation process,”

Jagdeo opined that the international officials should then prepare an independent quality control report and present that to the commission and political parties taking part in the elections.

The former President also stated that some international bodies, including the Commonwealth and the UN, and several bilateral donors, have communicated their willingness to assist, and are just “waiting for the request”.

“In fact, they have said this to me, that they are prepared to assist the commission in ensuring credible elections…When I met with the international community – this was a few months back – I asked if that offer [to assist] is still on the table, and they said yes, the offer is still on the table. Since then I’ve spoken to the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, and other bilateral donors.”


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