Media Center

Press Release


  December 11, 2006

The Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Albert R. Ramdin, today delivered the final report of the OAS Electoral Observation Mission to Guyana, which monitored that country’s August 28 general and regional elections. On presenting the report to Prime Minister and acting President Samuel Hinds, during a seminar in the Guyanese capital of Georgetown, Ambassador Ramdin stressed the need to boost confidence in Guyana’s electoral institutions as “an important next step.”

Ramdin, who had led the OAS team of monitors for that election, congratulated the Guyanese people on the orderly and peaceful conduct of the elections, and went on to stress that “constant, open and structured dialogue among stakeholders is necessary to build trust and to strengthen peace and stability.”

He told participants in the seminar that enhanced confidence in the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) “can be achieved through permanent education of and communication with people, political parties and other stakeholders in the role, purpose and functioning of the electoral commission.” He suggested that GECOM be made a technically and financially well-equipped, independent, non-partisan electoral institution which can provide electoral service that will be respected, not disputed. It should be able to provide professional guidance in situations of uncertainty, Ramdin said.

The seminar drew a wide range of participants, including government ministers and the GECOM Chairman and Commissioners, as well as representatives of political parties, civil society, the media, the diplomatic corps and international, regional and financial organizations.

The Assistant Secretary General renewed the OAS offer to help design a program to provide electoral support, based on the needs and priorities identified by the Guyanese authorities, noting that one of the objectives of this seminar is to provide some guidance in that regard.

Ramdin emphasized the important role government can play in providing equal state media access to all contesting political parties in the run-up to elections, “on the basis of a code of conduct that directs the content, focus and presentation.” He also suggested the electoral and voting procedures need reviewing, to ensure adequate checks and balances. Other issues identified as needing further attention include the questions of residency and timely update of the 2006 voter’s list. Ramdin further suggested that the government, the Parliament and political parties could consider drawing from electoral best practices available in the Americas.

The OAS official thanked the OAS member states at large and the United Kingdom and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) for supporting the electoral mission. He particularly acknowledged the financial contributions from the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico and Chile.

Reference: E-275/06