President David Granger and First Lady Sandra Granger were the first to vote at their polling station at the Enterprise School, Durban Backlands.
The process went smoothly as the first couple quickly cast their ballots as other voters gathered outside.
Unlike the scene at last year’s national elections, there were no long lines at this particular polling station. There have been concerns that there might be a low voter turn out for today’s local government polls. President Granger told the media that he believes it is too early to make such a declaration and he believes that citizens across the country will head to the polls and vote.
Guyana last held local government elections in 1994. The APNU+AFC coalition which was elected to office last May, is credited with ensuring the return of local democracy within its first year in office.
The President said “it is a feeling of great satisfaction that our coalition within the first year in office has been able to give to the Guyanese people, something that they crave for over the last 19 years, so I am very happy and very satisfied that we have been able to deliver local democracy to our citizens”.
The President believes that there will be a good turn out for the elections because people want change from the local systems that would have governed them for over two decades. “They want to be able to have the type of municipality that will give them that quality life, So I am not worried about the numbers or the outcome”, he said.
There are three new towns that will be electing their first councils today. The towns of Bartica, Lethem and Mabaruma recently gained township status, joining the other six towns.
President Granger said he has been to the new towns to campaign and he believes the coalition will pull off victories in the new towns also.
First Lady Sandra Granger encouraged citizens, especially women, to head to the polls to cast their ballots, reminding them that “this is your chance to decide who is going to represent you and I think women are smart enough to know that when they cast their ballot, they are going to have a say in their own local constituencies.”
There are over 500,000 persons on the voters list for the local government elections.