Awaiting the final results

Guyana Chronicle
March 20, 2001

ALTHOUGH final statistics were not immediately available, it was clear that Guyanese turned out in their numbers to vote in yesterday's regional and general elections.

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) reported at noon that polling was heavy in most sections of Georgetown and other parts of the country and there was also a heavy turnout towards the close of the polls.

In that fine Guyanese tradition, polling was peaceful throughout the day as voters waited patiently to cast their franchise.

There was no open animosity in polling queues that comprised people of all races and supporters of all parties and the police said there were no incidents during the day.

Some people from several parties at several polling stations claimed they were disenfranchised through no fault of their own and GECOM said it took steps to resolve those difficulties.

There were problems that led to the late opening of polling stations, some of the electoral material did not work, voters could not find their divisions and contingency arrangements had to be put in place by GECOM and other stakeholders.

As we report, former United States President Jimmy Carter helped resolve an ink pad problem that had prevented the start of polling at one East Coast Demerara station.

There is also the story of the young man who had registered as a voter at Plaisance, East Coast Demerara but when he went to cast his vote, found that he was not listed to vote there.

In his determined bid to vote, he eventually found out that he had been registered to vote on the Corentyne, far east across the Berbice River from where he lived.

The young man joined a bus, crossed the Berbice River, joined another bus and was able to cast his vote in time.

There are photos in our issue today of the young and the old, the disabled and so many others determined to cast their vote for the party of their choice in a firm affirmation of the democracy this country is trying to consolidate.

There was proof enough yesterday of the determination to let the will of the people prevail, despite the hiccups.

The nation awaits the final results of the overwhelming trek to the polls yesterday by Guyanese in their massive numbers.

Once the results are verified and accepted as the true will of the people, with the backing of the large teams of local, regional and international observers, these should be accepted by all the contestants.

We salute Guyanese for holding fast to electing their government through the ballot and adhering to the rule of law.

And we hope the appeal to let peace and stability prevail will be heeded by all who hold dear the future of the country to which we all belong and in whose destiny we all have an abiding stake.

GECOM said the first set of preliminary official results was not expected until late last night and the full official results may emerge later today or by tomorrow.

In the meantime, the primary concern is for maintenance of the peace and the stability that characterised the voting.