Elections commission must reflect population make-up To the Editor
Guyana Chronicle
December 8, 2001

I HAVE observed one of two letters in the letter columns of your newspaper that refer to the lack of an acceptable ethnic balance in the Elections Commission.

I do not know if that is the cause of a horrendous event that took place on Election Day this year, but it is possible that the unrepresentative nature of the Elections Commission led to this serious offence. I refer to the decision of those in charge of the election to extend the time of voting when voting was taking place on elections day.

I am told by one of the Elections Commissioners that the night before elections, at a meeting of the commission, the proposal to keep voting stations open longer than the specified period was raised. It was voted down. I have no reason to disbelieve this.

Yet less than 24 hours after that firm decision was made the time of voting was extended beyond 18:00 hours. What is significant about this extension is the information reached only Georgetown and areas nearby. No such extension of voting time was told to voting places in other parts of the country.

I know as a fact that there were some Georgetown voting places that left open up to 22:00 hours this, quite naturally, led to abuse, with double and triple voting allowed in some places when intimidation was rampant.

It reminded me of elections I observed when the PNC was in office. I can well remember mini-buses carrying PNC statements from polling both to polling both, both in the city and environs.

I have absolutely no doubt that the election results were altered by this illegal wave of false voting and the irony of it all is that the PNC protested the elections results (as usual) even though it got more votes than it had a legal right to.

When all is said and done we need an Elections Commission that reflects the population of this nation and one that will not bend the rules when pressure is put on it. All Guyana deserve the right to have an Elections Commission which it can trust and expect fair play and protection of the inherent rights of all the voters.
A Rampertab.