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GEORGETOWN, Guyana – The two main political entities in Guyana on Friday nominated candidates for the 65-member National Assembly as well as the regional councils ahead of the March 2 general election that the Guyana Election Commission (GECOM) insists will be free and fair.
GECOM chair, retired justice Claudette Singh told reports that the organisation has been working assiduously to deliver a credible and fair election.
“Only one way I know and that is the correct way,” she said, adding “there’s so many negative things in the newspapers (but) I will not sell my integrity for all the oil in Guyana.
President David Granger, who is leading the coalition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) into the elections, told reporters that the grouping, which includes the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) and the Alliance for Change (AFC), has over the past three months “been very careful to lay down the principles by which a person has been selected.
“We have decided on the criteria among the six partners. I am satisfied that all the six partners have complied with those criteria, about gender, about generation, about geographical spread, about competence and I am satisfied we went through the process and we have got the best list,” he added.
In December 2018, the APNU government collapsed after one of its members sided with a motion of no confidence brought by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, ensuring that the government lost its slender one-seat majority in the National Assembly.
But the vote also brought to the front, a number of legislators from both the government and the main opposition People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) holding dual citizenship in contradiction of the Guyana Constitution. Following the vote, a number of legislators from both sides renounced their foreign citizenship in order to be nominated to contest the polls.
Granger described the new list as ‘a winning list’ adding “we have a proven record and the list of persons we have submitted, I am very sure will be able to do us proud in the National Assembly, in the Regional Democratic Councils and of course in the Cabinet”.
He told reporters the list shows a balance with “gender, youth, geographical spread” and that it contains “no surprises”.
But the PPP/C presidential candidate, Irfaan Ali, insisted that the party stands the better chance of winning the elections telling reporters “we have a list that is very diverse, a list that embodies competent, experienced, youth, energy (and) commitment.
“The list represents all of Guyana. The list represents what is needed to take our country forward. The lost that shows how we bring Guyana together and how we are presenting a national team to these elections,” he added.
But both Ali and Jagdeo shied away from questions being posed regarding the possibility of Ali being convicted on fraud–related charges arising out of his tenure as a government minister during the last PPP/C administration.
“Today we start a journey to victory. That is the only thing on my mind. The only thing as presidential candidate on my mind is Guyana, moving Guyana forward and going on to victory,” Ali said, while both men later agreed that “we will deal with it at that point”. (CMC)