A number of political parties as well as independent groups and candidates that will be contesting the June 12 Local Government elections have signed the Ethnic Relations Commission’s Code of Conduct.
The objective of the Code of Conduct is to ensure that there is peace before, during and after the elections.
During the signing which took place over the week, Chairman of the ERC, Shaikh Moeenul Hack said the signing of the code is just a small part to ensure that those who seek public office are held responsible, though he maintained that the onus is upon those in the political space to be responsible in their messaging.
“As a Commission, we firmly believe that as a constitutional body birthed out of political discord and one that is entrusted with the promotion of harmony and good relations, among other responsibilities, such an endeavor as this signing, becomes absolutely necessary,” the Chairman expressed.
The Chairman called for responsible approaches to ensure the remaining period for campaigning is free of ethnic division, discrimination, hate speech, incitement, and provocation while reminding that achieving harmony takes a collective approach with the involvement of those who hold and who aspire to hold public offices.
“We can all agree that the promotion of harmony takes a collective effort, including all those who hold and those who aspire to told public offices. There is tremendous influence within that grouping, influence that can become a potently positive force to aid in the realization in the desirous change,” the Chairman said.
He said the people of Guyana deserve no less than responsible behavior from those who seek public office.
“We are optimistic that with sustained and genuine efforts from all, the task of promoting harmony would become less challenging. The Code of Conduct therefore becomes an important step in that journey; an ongoing journey that must never be allowed to cease,” the Chairman noted.
While the governing PPP and a number of smaller parties and groups signed the code of conduct, the APNU has opted not to sign on to the code.
APNU Chairman and Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton today told News Source that the ERC is yet to begin working on its actual responsibilities under the Constitution. He said the APNU will not sign a code with parties that have already started to behave badly with their elections campaigning.
Norton assured that the APNU will be campaigning in a responsible manner.