(GUYANA CHRONICLE) — The Private Sector Commission (PSC) is calling on employers to allow their staff the time off to cast their ballots in the Local Government Elections (LGEs) being held today Monday November 12, 2018.
Today marks the second consecutive occasion in decades that Guyana will see the hosting of Local Government Elections (LGE), with approximately 573,000 eligible voters expected to vote.
In time for democratic process, resumed after a 23-year hiatus, was the establishment of four new towns and several new Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) that are set to broaden the reach of the democracy in the country.
Quite a number of political parties are contesting in this year’s elections including the country’s three main political parties: A Partnership for National Unity (APNU); the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) and the Alliance For Change (AFC).
Meanwhile, several voluntary groups and individual candidates are also contesting today.
Set to observe the democratic process are groups such as the European Union (EU); the British High Commission; the Canadian High Commission; the Embassy of the United States; the Embassy of Chile; the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) and the Private Sector Commission (PSC).
In a release on Sunday, the PSC urged employers countrywide to allow their employees, as citizens, to exercise their right to vote today.
“The Private Sector Commission, in consideration of the importance of the imminent Local Government Elections to our democracy, wishes to urge all employers to release their staff so that they may exercise their franchise and cast their votes in these elections,” the release stated.
The commission further urged all eligible Guyanese to make use of the opportunity, to decide on the leaders they believe will best improve their communities.
“The Private Sector Commission also urges all Guyanese to go out and vote for the candidates of their choice. The right to vote is a privilege for which our forefathers fought and paid dearly. Let us not waste their sacrifices,” it stated.
In addition, members of the Disciplined Forces which consist of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF); the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and the Guyana Prison Service (GPS) voted on Friday, November 2, 2018. Their ballots will be added to the total.
Chief Elections Officer, Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Keith Lowenfield, has assured that the declaration of results will not go beyond November 13, 2018. This may be even sooner for smaller Local Authority Areas (LAAs).
Apart from this, GECOM has advised that there are a number of election offences that voters should be wary of as they cast their ballots today.
Actions relating to voting which are illegal include: voting more than once in the same election; voting or attempting to vote if you are not qualified to do so and voting in the name of another person.
Also prohibited is: canvassing for voters or interfering with a voter within 200 yards of a Polling Station; removing or defacing a lawfully displayed official electoral notice or election campaign materials; and deliberately obstructing or interfering with the work of an election official.
Those found guilty of an election offence can be fined; imprisoned or both and even disqualified from voting in future elections.
Meanwhile, as a registered voter, you have the right to vote as your conscience tells you and to expect an orderly and peaceful election, free from fear, violence or intimidation.