Police will not carry guns on E-Day; violence unlikely, says CARICOM Observer Mission
Police ranks who are tasked with maintaining law and order on Election Day and those manning polling places will not carry any arms in the execution of their duties, according to the Chief of Mission of the CARICOM Observer Mission, which was updated on security for the elections by the Police Force.
While the Police have not made any comments on the state of its readiness even with a pending public request by the opposition People’s Progressive Party, the CARICOM Elections Observation Mission to Guyana has said that they have received assurances from Police Commissioner, Leslie James.
At a press conference at the CARICOM Secretariat on Friday, Chief of Mission Cynthia Combie Martyr said that the Police Commissioner indicated that it is unlikely that there will be any elections violence.
Martyr, who is a former Saint Lucian Judge, arrived in Guyana earlier this week and met with several stakeholders, including the Guyana Police Force, the Guyana Elections Commission, political parties, the Private Sector and other civil groups.
Asked specifically about her meeting with the Police Commissioner, Martyr said he indicated that prior election process was free of violence and in any event of violence, the Police will be prepared for those incidents of violence.
During a press conference on Thursday, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo urged the Guyana Police Force to give public assurances of their readiness to maintain law and order and protect polling places across the country.
Jagdeo said he expects the Police leadership to give these assurances to election observers and the electoral body but he also wants these assurances himself.
Jagdeo said the Police must say what training has been done, whether they will use Rural Constables or Police only and the state of Police vehicles to respond to incidents.
Meanwhile, Ms Martyr said she appreciates GECOM’s readiness for the holding and management of the elections and declaration of the results.
She said during her meeting with the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, GECOM had almost resolved all the issues.
She said no electoral body should be expected to be 100% ready, and said glitches should be expected along with new issues arising as the process moves along.