U.S. Embassy Observes Local Government Elections

Georgetown – The Embassy of the United States of America congratulates the people of Guyana and the Guyana Elections Commission on the successful conclusion of the disciplined services vote as part of the 2016 local government elections. The Embassy is pleased to have observed the process as members of the Guyana Police Force (GPF), the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), and the Prison Service participated in the first local government elections in more than 22 years. The Embassy team of observers found nothing to question the integrity or credibility of this critical phase of the voting process and the Guyana Elections Commission is to be commended for its logistical arrangements for this phase of the process.

Embassy observers were pleased that some locations saw comparatively high-levels of overall voter turnout. However, this was not true at all polling places and, at some polling stations, turnout appeared to remain comparatively low.  In addition, a sizable number of prospective voters in some areas arrived at the incorrect polling location or without national identification cards. Guyana Elections Commission procedures were wholly adequate to deal with these eventualities, and the polling staff performed admirably in ensuring the integrity of the process while avoiding voter disenfranchisement. Even so, these observations point to the need for all stakeholders to redouble voter education and mobilization efforts in advance of the March 18 general vote. It is our Observer Team’s hope that civil society, media organizations, and political parties will play a key role in this regard.

The Embassy of the United States of America will continue to work with other observer groups throughout the local government elections process and will again have teams in the field onMarch 18th when the general public has the opportunity to vote. The Embassy encourages all Guyanese citizens to participate in this historic election.