Publication | Report/Paper

Guyana: A Pre-Election Technical Assessment Report, October 31, 1990, revised March 22, 1991


A two-member Pre-Election Technical Assessment Team (the "Team") conducted an on-site, technical assessment of Guyana’s electoral system on October 8-13, 1990 prior to the 1991 Presidential and parliamentary elections (the "1991 elections"). They did so in order to prepare a report for consideration of the Government of Guyana ("GOG"), the United States Government ("USG") and others in assessing the Guyanese electoral process' capacities to assure ""free and fair elections" as those capacities relate to elections commodities.

Members of the Team were Randal Cornell Teague, Sr., Counsel to the International Foundation for Electoral Systems ("IFES"), Washington, D.C., U.S.A., and Ronald A. Gould, Assistant Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada, Ottawa, Canada. Both are authorities in electoral law and practice. (See Appendix L.)

The Team met with representatives of the GOG, including the Chairman, members (which include a member representing the Majority Party, the People's National Congress (PNC), and a member representing the principal opposition party, the People's Progressive Party (PPP» and the Secretary of the Elections commission of Guyana, (the "Elections Commission" and the "Commission"), the latter being the principal staff officer of the Commission. The Team met also with the USG at Georgetown and with representatives of the Council of Freely-Elected Heads of Government at the Carter Center, Atlanta, Georgia, including former President Carter. Unfortunately, the Team was unnecessarily proscribed from meeting with the-Opposition, under the specific warning from President Hoyte of the risk of "aborting" the Team's mission (see Appendices G and H), potentially jeopardizing the credibility of the Team's findings and recommendations. Fortunately and without breach of that limitation, the Team was informed extensively both prior to and while in Guyana of opposition concerns and suggestions respecting the voters' lists and the upcoming elections, as well as the GOG's and Majority Party's reactions thereto.

The Team examined the electoral process, including the role of the constitution, electoral and related political rights laws, the composition and role of the Commission, national registration procedures, voter list compilation procedures, ballot security, vote counting and verification, and contest and appeals procedures. It also discussed the role of political parties, minority parties' coalitions and civic reform organizations in the past and in the upcoming elections.

In addition to this report, the Team received, reviewed and returned with relevant law and other documents and delivered them to IFES for purposes of this project and IFES' s elections data base, library and permanent records. Some have been made appendices to this report.

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