Supporters of the APNU+AFC coalition must be prepared to play their part at the close of polls on elections day and be ready to guard against any interference during the counting of ballots at polling stations, Chair of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Volda Lawrence told a gathering at Kitty Market Square last night.
Lawrence told supporters that after voting for the general and regional elections is closed at 6 pm on March 2, they must be ready to work the “nightshift” and be watchful during the tabulation of ballots.
“And after 6 o clock hit, comrades, you should already have your bath and put on your nightshift clothing. You understand what I am saying comrades? This is not a time to be caught sleeping; they must not catch us sleeping. At 6 o clock, you return to work at the places of polling and you will remain out there and let our staff inside know you are out there; just let them know everything is covered APNU+ AFC,” Lawrence said. The PNCR is the largest constituent of APNU.
The party chairman informed supporters that they must not leave polling stations until the Statement of Poll (SOPs) with the results of the voting at those locations is posted outside of the building by the returning officers.
“Comrades, you have to remain there until they get it right, until they have counted all ballots and the returning officer comes outside and paste up the statement of polls and then our nice strong men will be mobilised to follow that ballot box for it to go into that container and have the APNU+AFC padlock and chain placed on that container to protect our ballots,” she emphasised, while noting that it is important for them to have a smooth process.
“Joke ah joke but them votes we na mek no joke, no joke we ain’t mekking with them ballots,” she further informed the crowd which roared its approval.
The party chairman shared the instructions while she emceed the public meeting, which saw a large gathering of supporters. While Lawrence did not address the crowd like other speakers, at intervals, she highlighted some of the APNU+AFC government’s achievements over the last four years.
She also used the opportunity to educate voters on how they should vote on elections day and urged them to be cautious as votes can be easily spoiled.
“I want you to take note, I don’t want any spoil votes like the last time. Each one must teach one; you must remind your friends and family that they have to vote two times. An X at the top and at the bottom at the palm and key,” she iterated to the upbeat supporters.
Lawrence also cautioned that they should not write anything on the ballot papers as the votes will be counted as spoiled.
“The last time, they wrote all sorts of things because they were filled with emotions. They wrote love letters but we don’t want any spoiled votes. We want everyone to know how to vote,” Lawrence said.
She further told supporters that they must not make the mistake to discourage anyone from voting, especially persons who are mentally challenged since it is their democratic right to do so.
Lawrence also used to opportunity to preach a message of unity and announced that persons from any walk of life are encouraged to join the coalition. “I want you to know that APNU+AFC is for everyone. Our arms are open, our doors are open…come in to the family of APNU+AFC; we want to bring this country, we want each and every Guyanese feel as if they belong here,” she emphasised.
Meanwhile, Mayor of Georgetown Ubraj Narine, who delivered a fiery address, said that under the David Granger-led administration, the city has seen development and transformation. He contended that more was done for the citizenry of Georgetown in four years than when the People’s Progressive Party was in power.
Narine highlighted that millions were spent on cleaning up the city’s drains and alleyways and Georgetown has been on a progressive path of transformation. He stated too that through grants from central government via the Ministry of Communities, the city council have been able to improve the infrastructure at the La Penitence, Albouystown, Bourda and Kitty markets. He also boasted of the free Wi-Fi hotspots available at the markets and at City Hall.
With such developments, Narine told the gathering, they should vote for the APNU+AFC government to allow progress to continue.
The mayor stated that should this government remain in office after March 2, they will undertake the restoration of the City Hall building and return it to its glory days. Despite its nearly five years in office, APNU+AFC has made no progress towards the restoration of City Hall. Narine also stressed that there will be more creation of public green spaces and improved drainage works.
While at the podium, Narine took the opportunity to respond to the PPP/C’s Dr Vindhya Persaud regarding her claims of drug shortages in the health sector.
He said that while Persaud is claiming that there have been drug shortages, it didn’t stop her from requesting assistance from the Ministry of Public Health to conduct her medical outreaches.
Other speakers of the night included Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan, Nicola Trotman and Imran Khan of the AFC, and Trade Unionist Eslyn Harris, who highlighted the progress delivered by the APNU+AFC government and urged voters to give the administration a second chance.