Technical Assistance Project, Guyana, Final Report April 30, 1998

Publication Date: 
29 Apr 1998

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BACKGROUND

The National Democratic Institute awarded IFES a series of sub-grants from its Cooperative Agreement with USAID/Guyana which eventually totaled $171,057. The objective of the grants was to provide the Guyana Elections Commission (GEC) with sufficient technical expertise to carry out successful presidential and parliamentary elections in 1997.

The initial sub-grant, signed on February 20,1997, amounted to $80,000 to be expended between February and May 1997. This grant was subsequently extended to August 1997. On August 14, 1997, due to the need to provide the GEC with special security paper needed to print the voters list, NDI and IFES amended the agreement to increase the amount of the sub-grant to $111,057, or an increase of $31,057. Finally, on September 22, 1997, the sub-grant was amended once again to increase it by another $60,000. This additional funding provided the GEC with 2,000 hand-held UV lamps (for reading the security watermark on voter 10 cards) and funded the deployment of an eight-member IFES international delegation to observe the December 1997 general election.

Many of the suggestions put forth by IFES during the various trips made by IFES consultants were accepted and implemented by the GEC. The implementations of these suggestions was instrumental in enabling the GEC to update its computer network system. As a consequence of the new hardware and software and the technical support provided by IFES, the GEC was able to reduce the delays and downtime produced by a rapid increase in the volume of data entries. In short, the network updates produced in a timely fashion a far more reliable voter's list. The GEC printed the final voters list, produced with an IFES network server and software and an IFES laser printer, on IFES-provided paper, on September 8, 1997.

During the duration of the sub-grants (February 1997/March 1998), IFES activities were concentrated in the procurement area. IFES procured the following:

·         Hardware

·         Software

·         Paper for the voter list print out

·         2,000 UV lights hand held lamps

·         8,000 AA batteries

In addition to the procurements listed above, IFES also fielded an eight-member international observation team to observe the December 15, 1997, general elections. Following the elections, protests by the losing party led to an agreement to conduct a full nationwide recount. IFES offered its services in this regard, and the newly-elected President accepted the offer in a national TV address. IFES/Washington personnel worked diligently for a number of days in January 1998 putting together a list of U.S. and international experts to conduct the recount. However, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was engaged in brokering a broad national reconciliation agreement between the two major parties in Guyana, and as part of that effort offered to supervise the recount. This offer was accepted by both parties and the recount began in April 1998. IFES offered its full support to CARICOM.

 

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