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Name: Fghijklmno
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Date: 21 Oct 17 12:38am
The words “before 1992” and “after 1992” are phrases fraught with meaning for all Guyanese, young and old alike.For the older folks it speaks of a turning point; good in the opinion of some, not so good in the opinion of others, but irrespective of their opinion of what came after, all of these folks will agree that it was a significant year for the Guyanese people.On October 5th, 1992, Guyanese went to the polls in what many have since called our first free and fair elections. Whether or not this was actually the case is better left to the historians, but for the rest of us, we can always stand to hear a story.Dr. Yesu PersaudToday we share with you a retelling of some of the events surrounding those elections from one man’s vantage point. The story was so important that its bearer has dedicated an entire chapter to it in the memoirs of his long and colourful life.As we approach yet another set of elections, the author has shared with us this chapter of his work. It tells a tale of the patriotism, dedication and faith of an entire nation and it would do all Guyanese well to remember that things were not always so simple. That many of the freedoms we enjoy today were dearly bought. And that we must ensure that we do not take these freedoms for granted.The chapter begins with a little taste of what the parties were offering the people, it tells of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and People’s National Congress (PNC) rallies that attracted in excess of 15, 000 people. It tells of the fever that gripped the nation, in fact, that is the chapter’s title: Election Fever 1992. And its author is Dr. Yesu Persaud.He tells of the call by Rudy Collins, then-Chairman of the Elections Commission, for Electoral Officers from the Private Sector. It was a call that was readily answered with 33 percent of the Electoral Officers coming from the Private Sector after final selections were made.Being at the helm of Demerara Distillers Ltd (DDL), Dr. Persaud knew for a fact that all of DDL’s Senior Supervisors and Managers had volunteered to serve and most of them were selected as Polling Officers. He himself had been appointed as a Presiding Officer for one of the polling stations adjoining the Peter’s Hall School Polling Office. He would never get the opportunity to fill that post however.He writes that two days before Polling Day, on October 3, 1992 he was sent for by Collins, who asked him to help out with the Visitors/Observers from overseas at the Command Centre. To honour the request, he had to help find a replacement for his post as Presiding Officer and see that he was trained.Crisis loomsThat taken care of, Dr. Persaud found himself at a State House reception held for the overseas observers on that same evening – a Saturday. The invitees, he recalled, were local VIPs, Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Senior Officials of the Command Centre and, of course, the overseas observers. During the reception the first set of bad news came.Dr Persaud writes, “I recall vividly the Elections Commission Chairman’s anxiety and his response when he was informed around 8:30pm that 400 to 500 Electoral Officers would not turn out on Election morning.”Clairmont Lye of the Electoral Assistance Bureau (EAB) told Collins that the EAB, the Private Sector and other Civic Groups would immediately put steps in place to recruit and train 500 persons as Electoral officers on Sunday, October 4 – the following day. He left immediately after. Lye called EAB members and supporters and told them to start recruiting from their friends and families and he telephoned all of the private television stations as well as the radio station launching immediate advertisements calling persons to come forward as Civic Citizens to be trained as Electo
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