Joint Services voting gets off to a smooth start

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Members of the Joint Services began casting their votes for the parties of their choice on Friday morning at 82 polling stations across the country.

Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Patrick West told the media at the Camp Ayanganna, Georgetown location where he voted, that 3,000 ranks of the GDF will be voting. Of that amount, over 500 are voting at the Ayanganna location.

“Each soldier is required to vote for the candidate of his/her choice,” he stated.

The Chief-of-Staff said 95% of the soldiers will be voting on Friday while the remainder who are unavailable will be voting with civilians on March 2.

Members of the GDF line up to cast their vote [News Room photo]
Asked about his views on political parties campaigning for the votes of the Joint Services, West said “anybody can appeal to any citizen.”

“At the end of the day we are all citizens of Guyana and we will all have those choices now and in the future and I don’t see anything wrong with political leaders sharing from their political platforms their plans,” the Chief of Staff stated.

The soldiers were restricted from asking anyone to vote for any particular party.

The army chief noted that every election is critical and ensuring a smooth process is of utmost importance.

At Eve Leary where members of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) cast their votes, Commissioner of Police Leslie James reported a smooth start to the process.

Members of the Guyana Police Force line up to cast their vote [News Room photo]
“It’s a very simple process…I was briefed by the Deputy Commissioner, Maxine Graham and according to her reports, everything is going smoothly,” James told the media.

The process is being observed by the various electoral observer missions, political party agents and Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) officials.

On Friday morning, President David Granger also visited the various polling places across Georgetown.

The President, dressed in a green shirt, first visited Camp Ayanganna before moving to the police outposts.

President David Granger (in green shirt) and Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon speaking with Commissioner of Police, Leslie James [News Room photo]
Mr Granger said he is an agent and it is his duty to ensure the polling goes smoothly and simply “owns a lot of green shirts,” when asked about why he chose to wear his party’s colours to observe the voting.

“Polling was opened on time, started on time and there were no hitches…and I am satisfied the process is going smoothly,” the President said.

A Police Officer places his ballot in the box after casting his vote [News Room photo]
The media spoke with Deputy Chief Elections Officer Roxanne Myers who also said there were no hiccups and Opposition-nominated GECOM Commissioner Robeson Benn noted that he witnessed the deployment of elections agents.

The Chair of GECOM, Justice (retired) Claudette Singh observed the voting at the Army training base of Camp Seweyo on the Linden/Soesdyke Highway.

Justice (retired) Claudette Singh, chair of the Guyana Elections Commission, observes the voting process by the Army at Camp Seweyo [Photo provided by GECOM]

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