Only one party responded to ERC’s elections code of conduct

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The Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) on Friday revealed that only one political party responded to the draft Code of Conduct for the March 2 polls.

A total of 11 parties have been approved to contest the general and regional elections.

The ERC said while it has extended the response deadline until Monday, it will also seek to reengage political leaders given what has transpired so far on the campaign trail.

At a press conference on Friday at Cara Lodge in Georgetown, Deputy Chair of the ERC Norman McLean noted that the draft code of conduct was sent to all parties for review but only one responded, however, he did not want to name that party.

The draft code addresses discriminatory comments at public rallies and other election functions.

“Previously [in] 2015 GECOM were the people who put out that code of conduct, we as the Ethnic Relations Commission have crafted one which we have sent to all the parties and we only had one response, so it is still a work in progress in that regard but we are hoping that GECOM will create that position for us all to embrace code of conduct,” McLean said.

He noted that the ERC initially extended the deadline because they were waiting on nominations day to know which parties were in the race.

“….and even after that we had thirteen [political parties] and now they are down to eleven,” McLean said.

Public Relations Officer Remington Eastman said the ERC has been monitoring political campaigns and rallies and have so far recorded two incidents of racist comments from the People’s Progressive Party and the APNU+AFC coalition.

“So far it’s early days as yet, but we have actually identified two incidents that took place where language was used which we thought was language used to excite the crowd on the basis of racism and those incidents are – Plaisance with Mr Joseph Harmon and Kitty Market Square with Bishop Juan Edghill,” Eastman said.

As it relates to social media, Eastman explained that the ERC recorded a total of 44 racial instances which poses ethnic division.

He said the Commission has posted various public advisories on social media relating to 16 of the 44 cases.

Meanwhile, the Commission’s Chairman, John Smith urged for politicians and supporters to remain respectful as the elections campaign is in full mode.

“The call for the upcoming elections to be transparent, free of hate, violence and racial of any forms of incitement, is firmly reiterated,” the Chairman said.

The Ethnic Relations Commission says it will continue to monitor public political meetings and have also applied to be local observers for elections.

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