Reduction in private residences as polling places

In recent days, the opposition PPP has raised concerns about a decision by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to reduce the use of private residences as polling places.

On the face of it, the decision is one that appears sensible as private residences will always elicit concerns about whether the abode was known to be associated with political activity of one stripe or another or whether its owners are hostile to neighbours and the not insignificant question of who is actually in charge at the station. It is also known that at one time or the other, the major parties have frowned upon the use of private residences.

That said, however, the reduction of the number of private residences has raised several concerns and these have been enunciated by the PPP.

While the number has been reduced, a significant amount remain and many of these can be found in what are perceived to be strongholds of the governing APNU+AFC. Is it the case that there has been a vast reduction of private residences in some strongholds of the PPP whereas these have been largely retained in what are seen to be APNU+AFC strongholds? If this is the case, won’t it be conferring a distinct advantage to the supporters of APNU+AFC while disadvantaging those of the opposition party? A cogent explanation is urgently needed from GECOM on whether the reduction in the use of private residences was done in an evenhanded and fair manner.

Second, there are concerns that the reduction in the use of private residences will lead to congestion at certain polling places. The PPP has said that at Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara which is reputed to have around 7,000 electors, GECOM has cut the number of polling places from ten to two, eliminating completely all private residences. As a result, all of the polling stations for the area have been fitted into two schools situated at the same location. The PPP also cited Annandale where no private residences are being used and the entire community has to vote at three schools, adjacent to each other, at the northern end of the village.

Even if the average number of persons per polling station remains the same, there is a possibility that in areas with a high turnout there may be congestion if one public building hosts more voting stations than it has in the past. This must certainly be looked at in the days remaining before general elections. Where large numbers of persons congregate – as is likely in the early hours of polling day – there is also a potential public safety risk and there will have to be adequate personnel to direct electors to the various polling stations, ensure orderly lines and to respond to any potential disorder.

The PPP has also alleged that in the reduction of the use of private residences, voters will either have to travel farther to cast their ballots and do so in terrain that is not familiar or considered to be the stronghold of its main opponent. The opposition party cited several examples. It said that Lusignan, East Coast Demerara has one polling place which is located at the Lusignan Prison, located over a mile in the deserted backlands from where the closest voter resides. The PPP said that in Chesney Village, Region Six, residents will have to traverse over two miles to the polling station instead of voting in their own community as was the case in previous elections. Further, the party contended that there is a public building in Chesney Village but the place where persons now have to vote, two miles away, is a private residence.

The PPP also cited La Grange where it said that there is no polling place in what is a very populated community and the residents are expected to vote in the neighbouring village of Bagotville. The party also referenced the community of Foulis on the East Coast Demerara where a decision has been taken to use tents. The party contends that this decision will lead to traffic congestion and can prompt security concerns.

The cases cited by the PPP are worthy of full and urgent consideration by GECOM to determine what mitigating measures can be put in place before March 2nd.

When asked by the media on Friday about the reduction in the use of private residences as polling places, GECOM Chair Justice (rtd) Claudette Singh curiously cited as a rationale, recommendations made by the Carter Center which is one of the groups presently monitoring the period leading up to general elections.

“Those have been reduced because they’re using public buildings, it’s not that the polling stations are removed in the area, it’s just the private residences –they’re moving away from those…well that was a recommendation made by the Carter Center…Why would you use private residences when you have a public place?” Ms Singh told the media.

The GECOM Chair would be well aware that recommendations by the Carter Center are simply recommendations which have to be developed into regulations or laws in a feasible manner. Such recommendations have never been received as gospel by any administration of this country let alone GECOM. Further, had any of the many recommendations made by the Center over its years of observing elections in this country been implemented, the Commission that the Chair is currently presiding over would have been far different in nature. Finally, it is hardly likely that the Center would countenance the implementation of any of its recommendations in a manner that potentially creates disruptions in the ease with which electors can cast ballots just days before the polls.

The GECOM Chair and Chief Election Officer (CEO) Lowenfield must urgently take steps to ensure that electors are not unnecessarily inconvenienced on polling day as any such occurrence could constitute another form of voter suppression. It would also be advisable for the CEO to make personal checks on polling day at the various areas cited by the PPP and to have contingency measures in place to address any difficulties.

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:)

Original Post

That is why it is disingenuous for Django to say that GECOM was following the Carter Center's recommendations. 

I have no doubt that next week's elections will be massively rigged by the PNC. I also believe strongly that Ramjattan will not be the Prime Minister when it is all said and done.

But that is the people of Guyana's funeral as they created the mess because they weren't satisfied with pure democracy.

Last edited by Former Member

Why is Claudette Singh implementing the “private residences” Carter recommendation in the PPP strongholds and not the APNU/AGC Coalition strongholds? 

Furthermore, would voters be turned away from casting their ballots at the place of polling or would they be allowed to vote after the polls officially close?  Is it not a violation of the law for attempting to vote after the poll shows have officially closed? I saw this on GECOM Website.

 

Last edited by Former Member

The Private Sector Commission today stayed that they checked with the Carter Centre representatives and they denied that their 2015 recommendation had anything to do with reducing private residences as places of polling. They asked the Carter Centre to publicly deny what Claudette Singh said.  Did Claudette Singh lie? If so,she should be jailed.

Last edited by Former Member

PPPC is taking their protest with a camp out at Caricom Secretariat on Wednesday. 

What GECOM is doing, is frustrating the PPPC supporters.. PPP scrutineers spend hours going around to every house and let their supporters know the precise location of voting, base on the data that was given to them. GECOM then changes that data. Lowefield is working hand in hand with Congress Place. 

APNU has no objection to GECOM changes, because it did not affect their supporters. 

Zed posted:

Voters who are in the line at 6 PM will be allowed to vote. It would seem to me that the PPP has to institute a major transportation plan with people on the ground also guiding voters to the appropriate polling area. 

If the Official closing time is 6.00pm, then those who attempt to vote would be a violation of the law. This is what GECOM states publicly.  If what you say is true, then this should be made clear by GECOM. Just don’t assume what is unwritten.

Dondadda posted:

The Private Sector Commission today stayed that they checked with the Carter Centre representatives and they denied that their 2015 recommendation had anything to do with reducing private residences as places of polling. They asked the Carter Centre to publicly deny what Claudette Singh said.  Did Claudette Singh lie? If so,she should be jailed.

The Carter Centre report and recommendation regarding private residences as polling places is online.  Find it and the read the recommendations for yourself.  The PSC could have done that too.

Totaram posted:
Dondadda posted:

The Private Sector Commission today stayed that they checked with the Carter Centre representatives and they denied that their 2015 recommendation had anything to do with reducing private residences as places of polling. They asked the Carter Centre to publicly deny what Claudette Singh said.  Did Claudette Singh lie? If so,she should be jailed.

The Carter Centre report and recommendation regarding private residences as polling places is online.  Find it and the read the recommendations for yourself.  The PSC could have done that too.

Here is the relevant section of a preliminary report:

Location of polling stations. 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.

Report on Guyana 2006 Elections ▪ The Carter Center

Recommendations and Issues to Be Addressed

The Carter Center hopes that the general conduct and peaceful atmosphere, largely free of violence and voter intimidation, that prevailed in the campaign, election, and post election period signal a significant step toward strengthening democratic institutions in Guyana.We commend GECOM for their efforts in carrying out a successful elections process.The Carter Center remains willing to support and strengthen democratic institutions in Guyana and, particularly, the electoral process. To this end, we recommend that GECOM and the government of Guyana work cooperatively to address the following issues. These observations and recommendations are not meant to be exhaustive but rather are intended to highlight issues that The Carter Center believes merit immediate attention:

1. The Voter Registry
GECOM should conduct a broadly acceptable verification of the voters list.
The conducting of a house-to-house verification is strongly recommended
because it is the most likely means of increasing voter confidence in the list.


2. Reforming GECOM

a. GECOM should be independent from the government and be accountable
to and receive funding from the National Assembly.

The independence of GECOM from the government’s administration will bolster the commission’s credibility and independence.


b. The Carter-Price formula for GECOM should be changed to ensure that GECOM is not divided solely along political lines.

i. GECOM should be composed of individuals who are solely committed to carrying out a successful and transparent elections process and who have the confidence of political parties, but can also maintain independence.

As noted in the Carter Center’s report on the 2001 elections, “As part of electoral reform efforts, Guyana should give careful consideration to alternative models, possibly reducing or eliminating political party representation and increasing the role of independent members of civil society and professional experts.”

ii. Gender representation should be ensured in GECOM’s composition.


c. Communication among GECOM, the political parties, civil society, and election observers needs to improve. This can be achieved through the establishment of a liaison office to coordinate communication with political parties, observer groups, and civil society. Such an office would need adequate staffing and funding.
i. GECOM’s transparency will be elevated by additional communication with these stakeholders and could easily be achieved through the publication of GECOM meeting minutes or a summary of such minutes.

ii. Improved communication will also strengthen the relationship between GECOM and domestic observer groups.


d. Ensure that appropriate legal remedies be exercised in considering challenges to the electoral results. In addition, new legislation should be debated that provides for correcting results, if evidence is later provided that errors were made in determining the composition of the National Assembly.


e. Speed up the reporting of the vote count. This might be achieved using electronic means to transmit preliminary results. Such means should be tested thoroughly before the next general elections and, if possible, during local government elections.


3. Local Elections
a. Local elections, granted sufficient and thorough preparations are completed, should be held before the end of 2007. GECOM and the government of Guyana should act with all deliberate speed to prepare for the elections.


b. GECOM should implement the expansive voter and civic education program as outlined in their 2001 recommendations immediately. GECOM should pay specific attention to ensuring that correct and consistent information is disseminated as it relates to elections and voting processes. For example, leading up to disciplined services voting, voter education ads showed that ballots would be stamped at the polling place on election day. This was true for general voting, not disciplined services,thus creating confusion.


c. The government of Guyana and GECOM should consolidate election laws
for the purpose of simplification, codification, and accessibility. As called for in GECOM’s 2003 Three- to Five-Year Development Plan, “The consolidation of the election laws, incorporating all the amendments hitherto made, in order to make it user friendly for all and sundry that have to apply them in their official capacities and also to make it more intelligible to those who want to know the extant laws in so far as they relate to parliamentary, regional and local government elections.”


d. Revitalize the Task Force on Local Government Reform.
i. Implement the agreed-upon recommendations of the Task Force on Local Government Reform.
ii. Finalize work of the Task Force on Local Government Reform on outstanding issues, specifically in the areas of allocating the greatest number of seats possible on a constituency/ward basis as well as in determining the overall system of local government and the formula for fiscal transfers.
iii. Consider contesting local elections on a nonparty basis. These recommendations have also been identified by fellow international observer groups including the OAS and the Commonwealth. The Carter Center recommends that GECOM closely review and consider the additional recommendations made by those organizations.


The Carter Center is willing to engage in subsequent conversations with GECOM to
expand upon these recommendations. The Center remains supportive of the government of Guyana as it continues to strengthen democracy through the development of democratic institutions and practices.

https://www.cartercenter.org/d...ct%20rpt07_final.pdf

 

Crying foul ,14 years after the Carter Center recommendation ,Elections in Guyana is the same rhetoric.

Last edited by Django
Django posted:

Report on Guyana 2006 Elections ▪ The Carter Center

Recommendations and Issues to Be Addressed

The Carter Center hopes that the general conduct and peaceful atmosphere, largely free of violence and voter intimidation, that prevailed in the campaign, election, and post election period signal a significant step toward strengthening democratic institutions in Guyana.
We commend GECOM for their efforts in carrying out a successful elections process.
The Carter Center remains willing to support and strengthen democratic institutions in
Guyana and, particularly, the electoral process. To this end, we recommend that GECOM and the government of Guyana work cooperatively to address the following issues. These observations and recommendations are not meant to be exhaustive but rather are intended to highlight issues that The Carter Center believes merit immediate attention:

1. The Voter Registry
GECOM should conduct a broadly acceptable verification of the voters list.
The conducting of a house-to-house verification is strongly recommended
because it is the most likely means of increasing voter confidence in the list.


2. Reforming GECOM

a. GECOM should be independent from the government and be accountable
to and receive funding from the National Assembly. The independence of GECOM from the government’s administration will bolster the commission’s credibility and independence.


b. The Carter-Price formula for GECOM should be changed to ensure that GECOM is not divided solely along political lines.

i. GECOM should be composed of individuals who are solely
committed to carrying out a successful and transparent elections
process and who have the confidence of political parties, but can
also maintain independence. As noted in the Carter Center’s report
on the 2001 elections, “As part of electoral reform efforts, Guyana
should give careful consideration to alternative models, possibly
reducing or eliminating political party representation and
increasing the role of independent members of civil society and
professional experts.”

ii. Gender representation should be ensured in GECOM’s composition.


c. Communication among GECOM, the political parties, civil society, and election observers needs to improve. This can be achieved through the establishment of a liaison office to coordinate communication with political parties, observer groups, and civil society. Such an office would need adequate staffing and funding.
i. GECOM’s transparency will be elevated by additional communication with these stakeholders and could easily be achieved through the publication of GECOM meeting minutes or a summary of such minutes.

ii. Improved communication will also strengthen the relationship between GECOM and domestic observer groups.


d. Ensure that appropriate legal remedies be exercised in considering challenges to the electoral results. In addition, new legislation should be debated that provides for correcting results, if evidence is later provided that errors were made in determining the composition of the National Assembly.


e. Speed up the reporting of the vote count. This might be achieved using electronic means to transmit preliminary results. Such means should be tested thoroughly before the next general elections and, if possible, during local government elections.


3. Local Elections
a. Local elections, granted sufficient and thorough preparations are completed, should be held before the end of 2007. GECOM and the government of Guyana should act with all deliberate speed to prepare for the elections.


b. GECOM should implement the expansive voter and civic education program as outlined in their 2001 recommendations immediately. GECOM should pay specific attention to ensuring that correct and consistent information is disseminated as it relates to elections and voting processes. For example, leading up to disciplined services voting, voter education ads showed that ballots would be stamped at the polling place on election day. This was true for general voting, not disciplined services,thus creating confusion.
c. The government of Guyana and GECOM should consolidate election laws
for the purpose of simplification, codification, and accessibility. As called for in GECOM’s 2003 Three- to Five-Year Development Plan, “The consolidation of the election laws, incorporating all the amendments hitherto made, in order to make it user friendly for all and sundry that have to apply them in their official capacities and also to make it moreintelligible to those who want to know the extant laws insofar as they relate to parliamentary, regional and local government elections.”
d. Revitalize the Task Force on Local Government Reform.
i. Implement the agreed-upon recommendations of the Task Force on
Local Government Reform.
ii. Finalize work of the Task Force on Local Government Reform on outstanding issues, specifically in the areas of allocating the greatest number of seats possible on a constituency/ward basis as well as in determining the overall system of local government and the formula for fiscal transfers.
iii. Consider contesting local elections on a nonparty basis. These recommendations have also been identified by fellow international observer groups including the OAS and the Commonwealth. The Carter Center recommends that GECOM closely review and consider the additional recommendations made by those organizations.


The Carter Center is willing to engage in subsequent conversations with GECOM to
expand upon these recommendations. The Center remains supportive of the government of Guyana as it continues to strengthen democracy through the development of democratic institutions and practices.

https://www.cartercenter.org/d...ct%20rpt07_final.pdf

 

Crying foul ,14 years after the Carter Center recommendation ,Elections in Guyana is the same rhetoric.

The issue is about private residences being used as polling stations.  The claim was that the that the Carter Centre never made such a recommendation and that Justice Singh was lying.  The fact is the Carter Centre in its report on the 2015 election did make such a recommendation.  

Totaram posted:
 

The issue is about private residences being used as polling stations.  The claim was that the that the Carter Centre never made such a recommendation and that Justice Singh was lying.  The fact is the Carter Centre in its report on the 2015 election did make such a recommendation.  

The recommendation by the Carter Center ,in the 2015 Report is true ,  It's on page 94.

Link to report

https://www.cartercenter.org/r...statement-051717.pdf

My post was to emphasize since 2006  there was recommendations , 14 yrs after same old same old.

Last edited by Django

People sometimes get carried away during elections time and either make mistakes or misrepresentations. The PSC apparently did one of these with their statement.

But that is not the issue as it pertains to GECOM’s actions regarding using private residences as polling places or if they are only eliminating ones in PPP dominated areas. From everything we have seen so far, their actions reeks of rigging the elections.

Totaram posted:
Dondadda posted:

The Private Sector Commission today stayed that they checked with the Carter Centre representatives and they denied that their 2015 recommendation had anything to do with reducing private residences as places of polling. They asked the Carter Centre to publicly deny what Claudette Singh said.  Did Claudette Singh lie? If so,she should be jailed.

The Carter Centre report and recommendation regarding private residences as polling places is online.  Find it and the read the recommendations for yourself.  The PSC could have done that too.

Please give us the exact quote and page number of that recommendation you claim exist.

Django posted:
Totaram posted:
 

The issue is about private residences being used as polling stations.  The claim was that the that the Carter Centre never made such a recommendation and that Justice Singh was lying.  The fact is the Carter Centre in its report on the 2015 election did make such a recommendation.  

The recommendation by the Carter Center ,in the 2015 Report is true ,  It's on page 94.

Link to report

https://www.cartercenter.org/r...statement-051717.pdf

My post was to emphasize since 2006  there was recommendations , 14 yrs after same old same old.

But even now as the PNC run GECOM is pretending to follow that recommendation, they are blatantly ignoring it in their dominated areas. That is what deserves the emphasis bai. 😀

Zed posted:
Totaram posted:
Dondadda posted:

The Private Sector Commission today stayed that they checked with the Carter Centre representatives and they denied that their 2015 recommendation had anything to do with reducing private residences as places of polling. They asked the Carter Centre to publicly deny what Claudette Singh said.  Did Claudette Singh lie? If so,she should be jailed.

The Carter Centre report and recommendation regarding private residences as polling places is online.  Find it and the read the recommendations for yourself.  The PSC could have done that too.

Please give us the exact quote and page number of that recommendation you claim exist.

It is there Zed. I read it the other day. The PSC erred in their statement.

 

 


The PSC has checked and is informed that the Carter Center in its final report, following the 2015, elections made no such recommendation and we call upon the Carter Center to immediately, publicly make the Center’s position clear on this matter.”
It is on this and other premises that the PSC urged GECOM to reverse the “last minute changes” to the list of polling stations, and use the list previously agreed to by the Commissioners of GECOM.
While the Carter Centre did not precisely recommend a reduction in the use of private polling stations – in the recommendations section beginning on page 56, it did advocate for citizens to be given the opportunity to cast their votes in a neutral environment.
The report, titled ‘Final Report: Observing the 2015 Guyana Elections’, can be accessed from the following page on the Carter Centre’s website: https://www.cartercenter.org/n..._reports.html#guyana
On page 77 of the report, it is stated “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”.
On page 94, it is stated “While the establishment of polling stations on private property did not seem to negatively influence public confidence in the electoral process, The Carter Center recommends that GECOM take steps in future elections to ensure that citizens can cast their ballot in a neutral environment free from intimidation.”

https://www.kaieteurnewsonline...-stations-in-report/

Last edited by Former Member

I saw the recommendation after it was mentioned because I scanned the recommendations section. 

If people want to argue that this was a recommendation that GECOM followed, why not in all areas? Why have they not implemented all the recommendations that were made and were under the control of GECOM SECRETRATIAT?

Also, the recommendation was to use a neutral ‘environment’,  not private home or place. There’s two are different in essence. My understanding is that anywhere GECOM sets up a polling place becomes a neutral environment. No party flags, or literature. Party polling  agents, etc. carter centre as noted indicated they san no negative effect of the use of private residences during the elections.

Though I might have to reconsider my position because Granger showed up at Army polling station in party colour.

Claudette Singh reportedly said the decision to reduce the use of private residences is a recommendation of the Carter Center that GECOM is implementing, Carter Center did not make such recommendations as seen on page 94... instead, it recommends a neutral environment free from intimidation.  

The removal of these places was done at the last minute  without informing the opposition parties and the removal of these places was done only in PPPC support base. 

In the interest of fairness, why would anyone want voting to be conducted at the bottom house of a private residence? That in itself is a recipe for rigging and they should be eliminated altogether. A party member's house is not a neutral environment. There are enough schools and other public places where voting can be conducted in a neutral environment. The PSC are all PPP stooges. Let them go suck wood.

Dave posted:

Claudette Singh reportedly said the decision to reduce the use of private residences is a recommendation of the Carter Center that GECOM is implementing, Carter Center did not make such recommendations as seen on page 94... instead, it recommends a neutral environment free from intimidation.  

The removal of these places was done at the last minute  without informing the opposition parties and the removal of these places was done only in PPPC support base. 

Aright Dave...take it to the CCJ.  Anil gat some free time.

Mars posted:

In the interest of fairness, why would anyone want voting to be conducted at the bottom house of a private residence? That in itself is a recipe for rigging and they should be eliminated altogether. A party member's house is not a neutral environment. There are enough schools and other public places where voting can be conducted in a neutral environment. The PSC are all PPP stooges. Let them go suck wood.

Ehehehe...hey hey hey...abie lovie dovie one lover bai show up. 

Labba posted:
Mars posted:

In the interest of fairness, why would anyone want voting to be conducted at the bottom house of a private residence? That in itself is a recipe for rigging and they should be eliminated altogether. A party member's house is not a neutral environment. There are enough schools and other public places where voting can be conducted in a neutral environment. The PSC are all PPP stooges. Let them go suck wood.

Ehehehe...hey hey hey...abie lovie dovie one lover bai show up. 

Shut yuh racist ole ass about one lover. You were a founding member of ROAR. How much more one lover than that can one get?

Mars posted:
Labba posted:
Mars posted:

In the interest of fairness, why would anyone want voting to be conducted at the bottom house of a private residence? That in itself is a recipe for rigging and they should be eliminated altogether. A party member's house is not a neutral environment. There are enough schools and other public places where voting can be conducted in a neutral environment. The PSC are all PPP stooges. Let them go suck wood.

Ehehehe...hey hey hey...abie lovie dovie one lover bai show up. 

Shut yuh racist ole ass about one lover. You were a founding member of ROAR. How much more one lover than that can one get?

Hey hey hey...abie one lover bai calling me de cane juice labba man de racial. Hey hey hey...

Labba posted:
Mars posted:
Labba posted:
Mars posted:

In the interest of fairness, why would anyone want voting to be conducted at the bottom house of a private residence? That in itself is a recipe for rigging and they should be eliminated altogether. A party member's house is not a neutral environment. There are enough schools and other public places where voting can be conducted in a neutral environment. The PSC are all PPP stooges. Let them go suck wood.

Ehehehe...hey hey hey...abie lovie dovie one lover bai show up. 

Shut yuh racist ole ass about one lover. You were a founding member of ROAR. How much more one lover than that can one get?

Hey hey hey...abie one lover bai calling me de cane juice labba man de racial. Hey hey hey...

Which bandwagon you jumpin on dis time? I bet you reunite with Ravi Dev in the hope that you'll get ministuh wuk this time. Granger right fuh kick yuh stupid ass to the curb, you and Flour Boy Sase.

Mars posted:
Labba posted:
Mars posted:
Labba posted:
Mars posted:

In the interest of fairness, why would anyone want voting to be conducted at the bottom house of a private residence? That in itself is a recipe for rigging and they should be eliminated altogether. A party member's house is not a neutral environment. There are enough schools and other public places where voting can be conducted in a neutral environment. The PSC are all PPP stooges. Let them go suck wood.

Ehehehe...hey hey hey...abie lovie dovie one lover bai show up. 

Shut yuh racist ole ass about one lover. You were a founding member of ROAR. How much more one lover than that can one get?

Hey hey hey...abie one lover bai calling me de cane juice labba man de racial. Hey hey hey...

Which bandwagon you jumpin on dis time? I bet you reunite with Ravi Dev in the hope that you'll get ministuh wuk this time. Granger right fuh kick yuh stupid ass to the curb, you and Flour Boy Sase.

Hey hey hey...yuh mean de Granja who does neel down and pray on sunday and tink up scheme with Madam 'Sing' foh rig on Monday? Hey hey hey...

Labba posted:
Mars posted:
Labba posted: