The Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) during interactions with various Political Parties, proposed the signing of a Code of Conduct relevant to the elections period. A draft was shared with the Parties for suggested inputs. The Commission said that it remains optimistic for a public signing soon.
The Commission also anticipates a similar Code of Conduct from the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). It is hopeful that upon signing, the content of both would be honoured.
Further to that, the Commission said that as the campaigns for the various Political Parties continue in the run-up to the March 02 General and Regional Elections, it remains concerned over reported incidents of intimidation and abuse meted out to Party Officials while they are engaged in activities to sensitize on political messages reflective of the Parties they represent.
The Commission is also concerned about the use of language that can be considered as “combative and disrespectful” to the point of even being “threatening” in some instances. The ERC said that it firmly believes that those actions and utterances are counter-productive to the valiant efforts being made to foster unity and harmony.
“Those have no place in our society and restraint from all sides is urged while tolerance and respect for each other are encouraged. The call for the upcoming elections to be transparent, free of hate, violence and racial or any other forms of incitement, is firmly reiterated,” the Commission noted.
The Commission said that it will continue to the best of its ability, to monitor public meetings and related media coverage. It wishes to remind that some actions and utterances can constitute offences under the Representation of the People Act and the Racial Hostility Act.
“Given what has transpired in some instances in the campaign thus far, the Commission sees the need to re-engage the political leadership with the intent to derive a collective effort for respectful and incident-free elections periods – pre, polling and post. It therefore calls on all involved to endeavour for positive campaigns which can inspire national harmony and good relations amongst all of our peoples,” the Commission noted in a statement earlier today.
The Commission wishes to remind that our freedoms are enshrined and allow each and every Guyanese the democratic right to freely associate and support a Political Party of his/her choice. That must be respected.