As Guyana gears up for the hosting of Local Government Elections on March 18, the Government of Canada through the local High Commission has signed an agreement that will see it offering more support to the Guyana Elections Commission.
The agreement was signed at GECOM’s office on Monday morning.
When Guyanese head to the polls in March for the Local Government Elections, it will be the first time in over two decades that the local elections are being held. The last local government elections took place in 1994 under the previous government.
During the signing of the agreement today between the Government of Canada and the Guyana Elections Commission, the Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Pierre Giroux, said the CND$20,000 contribution to GECOM will essentially go towards the purchase of equipment to assist the Commission in its preparations and hosting of the polls.
He said “Canada has been a strong supporter of the electoral process here in Guyana and we were extremely pleased when we heard of the fixed date of March 18 for the local elections”. High Commissioner Giroux reminded that local elections “are very important” and forms part of a process to bring government closer to the people.
“It fosters greater inclusion, civic responsibility and empowerment and participation”, the Canadian envoy added. He said Canada will continue to be supportive of Guyana. The two countries will be celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations this year as Guyana also celebrates its 50th Independence anniversary.
Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, thanked the Canadian government for the support, while pointing out that “no amount of support would be adequate”.
GECOM intends to use the money contributed by the Canadian government to purchase several pieces of equipment including public address systems which will be used across the country as part of GECOM’s education of the voter drive.
The Chairman of GECOM, Dr. Steve Surujbally noted that GECOM has been stepping up its public education programme for the local government elections, recognising that it will have to do more.
He pointed out that training has been ongoing with GECOM staff members as they gear up for the local government polls. The elections will be held in neighbourhood democratic councils and municipalities across the country.
One Hundred and three symbols have been accepted by GECOM to represent various groups, parties, organisations and persons who will be contesting the elections.