May 29, 2023 -Three political parties in Guyana have signed the Ethnic Relations Commission’s (ERC) Code of Conduct ahead of the June 12, 2023, Local Government Elections.
Executive Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic, Zulfikar Mustapha, Member of Parliament, Shazam Ally of The Citizen Initiative, and Mark France of Guyana United, were among other party representatives signing the code on Saturday at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC).
Several political parties, independent groups, and individuals contesting the local government elections have indicated that they will not be signing the code of conduct.
But Chairman of the ERC Shaikh Moeenul Hack has indicated that another signing will be held during the new week to facilitate contestants who did not sign the code on Saturday.
“We’re extending that period, with the hope that they’ll change their mind,” the Chairman expressed, adding that this was the first time the ERC held a signing for local government elections.
The signing of the code of conduct signified the willingness of contestants to promote ethnic harmony and abstain from hate speech before, during, and after the elections.
“We at the ERC believe that a Code of Conduct, in the context for which we are gathered here today as the case in 2020, is crucial to and helps to advance the best interest of our country and our people.
“As a Commission, we firmly believe that as a constitutional body birthed out of political discord and one that is entrusted with the promotion of harmony and good relations, among other responsibilities, such an endeavor as this signing, becomes absolutely necessary,” the Chairman expressed.
He reiterated the call for responsible approaches to ensure the remaining period for campaigning is free of ethnic division, discrimination, hate speech, incitement, and provocation while reminding that achieving harmony takes a collective approach with the involvement of those who hold and who aspire to hold public offices.
“We are optimistic that with sustained and genuine efforts from all, the task of promoting harmony would become less challenging. The Code of Conduct therefore becomes an important step in that journey; an ongoing journey that must never be allowed to cease.
“As we traverse this sensitive period, there is that need for a multipronged approach to help lessen tension as historical lessons would remind. The Commission, therefore, reiterates an earlier call for peaceful and free and fair elections,” he added.