Political parties sign Code of Conduct to respect integrity of elections process
Three days before the 2020 general and regional elections, ten political parties have signed on to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Code of Conduct to guide their actions in the days remaining until the results are declared.
Eleven parties were approved to contest the elections but no member of the Federal United Party (FedUP), which is contesting only in Regions Five and Six, was available to sign the document.
The Code was signed at GECOM’s High Street, Kingston, Georgetown office.
Included in the document is a commitment from all parties to respect the integrity of the elections process.
The parties have committed to ensuring that its candidates, members and supporters refrain from interfering in any way “with the polling and counting proceedings, and avoid all attempts to spread false rumours about the election activities.”
They have committed to refraining from damaging polling stations, blocking any party candidates to polling stations and ensuring no bribes or compensation are paid to prospective voters. They also agreed to refrain from coercing other party agents to join a party and using state resources for the furtherance of the party’s interest.
Additionally, the parties affirmed their commitment to rejecting violence and intimidation, denouncing the possession or distribution of weapons or ammunition, and be transparent and respect other parties.
Signing on behalf of the APNU+AFC was its leader, President David Granger. In brief remarks, the President commended GECOM on formulating the document. He said his party will “abide by the values and standards enshrined in the code.”
People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali said: “for us, the code of conduct is very important part of elections.”
“We’ve committed before and we remain committed to the values of the code of conduct…ensuring there is free and fair elections and also an election that is free from fear,” he stated.
A New and United Guyana (ANUG) member, Jonathan Yearwood who signed the document on behalf of his party bemoaned its lateness. He noted that the code should have been signed earlier in the campaign period since some parties are already guilty of some of the infractions in the code.
The other signatories were The New Movement (TNM), The Citizenship Initiative (TCI), Change Guyana, the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), the People’s Republic Party (PRP), the United Republican Party (URP) and Organisation for Victory of the People (OVP).
Chairperson of GECOM, Justice (ret’d) Claudette Singh in brief remarks urged all parties to stick to their commitments.
“The purpose of this code is to develop rules and values of ethical principles for our political parties,” she said, adding that all efforts should be made to prevent hate speech, incitement and provocation which may inevitably invoke emotions in an already charged atmosphere.