GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Friday November 25, 2011 – The US Embassy in Georgetown has issued a travel advisory for Americans living in the country ahead of next Monday’s general and regional elections.
It has warned them to be on the alert for increased criminal activity and violence, in light of what has transpired in past elections.
Americans have been told to monitor the local media, avoid congested areas or areas where demonstrations are taking place or have been scheduled, and always travel with a charged cell phone prior to, during, and after the election.
“You should be aware that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence,” the embassy warned.
“You are therefore urged to avoid areas where demonstrations are occurring, and to exercise caution if in the vicinity of any demonstrations. You should stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of your surroundings at all times.”
U.S. citizens have also been encouraged to sign up with the embassy’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive the most up-to-date security information.
The Private Sector Commission and other groups have called for peaceful, free and fair elections even as the People’s Progressive Party/Civic continues to accuse the opposition of inciting racial and religious hatred ahead of the vote.
That charge has been rejected by A Partnership for National Unity, which has urged supporters and the general public to observe peaceful elections.
Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee has said that security forces will clamp down on any disturbances throughout the campaign, on elections day and in the aftermath of the polls.
Election Day has been declared a public holiday.