Guyana Elections Day almost certain in November

Election Day almost certain in November |
Written by Denis Scott Chabrol – Demerara Waves
Friday, 26 August 2011 13:16

The Media Monitors

Guyanese will almost certainly elect a government of their choice in November, Elections Commission Chairman, Steve Surujbally said, quelling speculation that the polls would be held in mid or late December.

With general and regional elections constitutionally due by December 28, 2011, speculation was rife in some quarters that President Bharrat Jagdeo would pick E-day during that month. Nomination Day is 30 days before election day.

“My own feel on the matter…is some time in November,” Surujbally said at the re-launch of GECOM’s Media Monitoring Unit (MMU).    

The commission’s time-table currently puts the readiness date at November 14. “His Excellency, the president will choose the most opportune time, I dare say, for the nation to go to the polls,” he said.

Parliament will automatically stand dissolved on September 27 by which time government hopes to complete its parliamentary agenda.

Surujbally pointed out that after the general and regional polls, GECOM would be almost ready for local government election because of a “superb” and “best list possible” of eligible voters.

“It would only take another continuous registration exercise and a C and O (Claims and Objections) next year and we are ready for the local government elections next year,” he said. Since the last local government polls in 1994, there has been constant bickering between government and the opposition on reforms, partly resulting in numerous postponements.

Turning his attention to the MMU, which is being funded by international development partners to the tune of GUY$11 million, the GECOM Chairman apparently took an less than indirect swipe at government for shutting down the unit.

“It was unnecessary we thought, perhaps imprudent for those people who worked in the MMU before and woke up one morning to find themselves unemployed, I thought that was especially callous,” he said in an apparent reference to a directive by the Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon to the United Nations office to cease funding the unit. No reason had been given.

A handbook on elections coverage prepared by the Trinidad-headquartered Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) and a voluntary self-regulatory and non-legal media code of conduct would be among the MMU’s tools.

MMU Consultant, Remington Eastman said his organisation would be keeping an eye on the media for balance, fairness and equity, accuracy, unsubstantiated allegations, insertion of opinions, inflammatory language and racial incitement.

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