GEORGETOWN, Guyana, November 12, 2018 (CMC) – Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo, called on the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to investigate reports of voter intimidation, as nationals cast ballots in the Local Government Elections (LGE) here, today.
But while Nagamootoo, the Acting President, made the call after casting his ballot, former president and Opposition Leader, Bharat Jagdeo, said that there could be attempts by people, to vote more than once.
Nagamootoo told reporters that he had received reports that supporters of the main opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) were picketing, close to a polling station in the Berbice area, and that there was also a banner, which targeted him and unveiled at another polling station.
“You have the report of some levels of intimidation and we are hoping that the Guyana Elections Commission will look into it, because this has been an area, where not only candidates have complained of being terrorized, but they were threatened,” he said.
Nagamootoo, whose Alliance for Change (AFC) is contesting the election as a separate entity from the ruling coalition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), said based on reports from all across the country, the voting has been “slow but steady”.
“I have received the report that it is not a heavy stream of voters turning up, as you would have in a national election, but the turnout is steady. People are leaving their work to come to vote then go back to their work places”, he said.
President David Granger, who is in Cuba seeking medical treatment, has delayed his return to the country, even though earlier reports had said he would have been here, in time for the LGE.
Jagdeo told reporters that he has asked PPP polling agents to be much more vigilant, amid reports that persons may seek to vote more than once.
“What we have asked our polling day agents now, is to pay particular attention to people, who may have voted before and may attempt to come back in and vote,” he said.
There are over 1,600 polling stations across the country in the 80 local authority areas, and Jagdeo said PPP polling agents have been asked to look at the numbers that will be revealed when the results are made available, to see if those numbers stray away from national averages for polling stations.
This is the second local government elections being held under the current administration. The poll marks the first time, in 50 years of Guyana’s post-colonial history, that successive local government elections are held when constitutionally due.
Local Government Elections are held in Guyana using a Mixed Electoral System of Proportional Representation and First-Past-the-Post. Fifty percent or half of the number of councillors of each Local Authority Area will be elected through the Proportional Representation component and the other 50 percent through the First-Past-the-Post or Constituency component.