As a Local Observer, the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce & Industry (GCCI) has become concerned about the situation it sees developing between the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and the Political Parties regarding the change to the number and location of polling stations across Guyana.

The GCCI is of the belief that this change will likely disenfranchise a significant number of voters in next week’s Election.

“The GCCI understands that the list of polling stations circulated in January to the Commission was acceptable to the Commissioners; however, the Chief Election Officer (CEO) of GECOM, [Keith Lowenfield] arbitrarily made changes to the January list without informing the Commission in a timely manner,” the Private Sector organisation said.

It is now calling on the Carter Center to clear the air on their 2015 Final Report, as the Carter Center in their report said, “Because of the lack of state establishments in some areas, 166 of Guyana’s 2,299 polling stations are located in private buildings and residences. While the establishment of polling stations on private property did not seem to negatively influence public confidence in the electoral process; GECOM should ensure that citizens can cast their ballot in a neutral environment.”

The GCCI said that while some persons have sought to justify the reduction in Polling Places using that 2015 report, the report clearly states that use of Private residences did not negatively influence public confidence.

The GCCI is not the first to comment on the issue; in fact, the Private Sector Commission (PSC) shares similar views. It has also called on the Carter Centre to make public its position on the matter.

Meanwhile, the Opposition, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) is also up in arms at the decision.

The party leader, former President Bharrat Jagdeo, at a recent political rally in Enmore, East Coast Demerara, said that the development is a “deliberate” attempt to frustrate the party’s supporters since those polling stations are in PPP/C’s strongholds.

Jagdeo said that if the matter is not resolved in a timely manner, the party will up pressure on GECOM by mobilising some 5000 supporters to protest infront of the elections body’s Kingston headquarters.



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