Saturday, July 22, 2006

Elections set for August 28...

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August 28 Elections Day-President announces
- assures security will be on full alert

Georgetown, GINA, July 21, 2006

Head of State, President Bharrat Jagdeo today announced the date for Guyana’s General and Regional Elections as August 28, 2006 during an address to the Nation.

The President made this disclosure following a presentation of a letter to him at the Office of the President by Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Dr. Steve Surujbally who indicated that the Commission is ready to conduct the elections as mandated by the Constitution.

“Today, I was informed by the Chairman of the Elections Commission, Dr. Steve Surujbally that the Chief Elections Officer has notified the Commission that the Secretariat is in a position to produce the Official List of Electors, after having completed the revision of the List of Electors, as mandated by law,” President Jagdeo said.

Noting that Guyana is a member of the fold of nations that are free and democratic, the Head of State said that the single most important feature of Guyana’s democracy is the right of every citizen to elect a Government of his or her choice and that the advice tendered and subsequently elections are the most compelling evidence of the restoration of that right.

“The struggle led by the People’s Progressive Party saw free and fair elections in 1992 whose results heralded Guyana’s return to the group of democratic nations. Since then, successive PPP/C Administrations have conceived policies and strategies, harnessed the energies of Guyanese and partnered with bilateral and multilateral institutions in promoting and entrenching the democratic content of national life in Guyana.”

The Head of State added that General and Regional Elections under the administration have been held in accordance with Constitutional provisions and have been observed internationally and the process certified by the international community as meeting internationally acceptable standards.

He recalled that the current Chairman was appointed from a list of six names submitted to the President by the Leader of the Opposition while the Commission’s six members were chosen equally by the Government and the Opposition and appointed by the President.

The President also pointed to the role played by Guyana’s international partners during the elections preparations period.

“We are grateful for the support of the international community and we assure them that we in Guyana are serious about free and fair elections as part of building and protecting our democracy.”

The Head of State commended GECOM since, in spite of difficulties, it has been able to confront and overcome the many challenges and hurdles.

“I am assured by GECOM that there will be strengthened and robust polling day practices to allow every registered voter to one vote and one vote only. The Commission needed our support in ensuring that these are effective,” he added.

President Jagdeo reiterated that GECOM is independent and ‘like all Guyanese I stand in defence of the discharge of their Constitutional mandate. I have been reassured that the Commission has discharged that mandate fairly and in accordance with the Constitution and laws of Guyana.’

“It is a tribute to you as citizens, to the political parties and to the Guyana Elections Commission that in spite of the many hurdles that still exist in the conducting of Elections, we have been able to strengthen and improve the electoral process for Elections in Guyana,” the Head of State said.
The President reminded that over the past several weeks, many political parties have been visiting homes and communities in preparing for elections and that subsequent to the announcement that they would be returning in greater force.

He added that Guyana is about to embark on that period during which political parties have their opportunity to present their plans for the continued nurturing of the country’s democracy and for accelerating Guyana’s development.

On this note he urged the parties and their supporters to join in an effort to ensure a peaceful and civil electoral period.

“While I expect that all political parties and citizens would exercise all caution to ensure a peaceful process, I assure you that the security forces will be on full alert. The Police and Army will be in line, fully deployed throughout Guyana for that period to ensure that a peaceful and violence-free climate prevails,” the President added.