The Guyana Elections Commission has indicated that there is no provision in law for party agents to be part of the security of ballot boxes once those are in the possession of the Elections Commission.
The statement by GECOM comes in the wake of a claim by some parties that it is restricting party agents from moving around containers to ensure that they are safe and have not been compromised.
According to GECOM, the law does not contemplate party agents as a key stakeholder in the security of ballot boxes.
The Commission added that although there is no legal provision, the Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission made a decision on 15th March 2020 to allow one agent from each political party to be accommodated in GECOM’s compound for the sole purpose of watching containers with ballot boxes.
It was also explained that predating this year’s elections, there is also an administrative arrangement for all contesting parties to place a padlock on each container with ballot boxes. Only the two main parties have placed chains and locks, according to GECOM.
The Commission said it has realised that the safety and security of its staff and compound were compromised by the presence of party agents and those agents were told to desist from taking photographs and videos of staff members of the Commission and routine daily operations of the Commission.
Party agents have now been told to observe the security protocol of the Commission. GECOM is also asking the party agents to desist from spreading wrong information.