BY: DR. VISHNU BISRAM
Guyanese in America are deeply disturbed by the reluctance of the coalition Government to respect the rulings of the Guyana Court on the election matter.
In America, Guyanese are accustomed to a society of law and order and respect for court rulings. In fact, Guyanese and other minorities rely on the court for enforcement of their civic rights. They expect the same in Guyana, where the incumbent Government has been defiant against the international community and the court.
The CCJ spoke definitively to bring finality to the election – use the Recount to declare the results. That was three weeks ago; but it is being ignored, and the judicial process in Guyana is being abused to prevent a declaration of the results.
In the US, Guyanese of all ethnicities — minorities relative to the dominant White race group — have been victims of racism and occasional electoral fraud; but when they approached the court, they got justice. When the court spoke, the Government and the dominant White people who controlled the levers of power listened and respected the law. It was the court that ended racial segregation and electoral fraud and empowered Black Americans. The court recognised the injustice of electoral fraud that prevented Blacks from getting a fair share of electoral representation, and corrected it.
It was also the court that corrected the historic injustice of segregation and lack of political representation in South Africa. White judges were relatively fair to the non-Whites, like Blacks, Indians, and Coloureds, or Mixed. The governments during and after apartheid respected the rulings of the court.
It is shameful that the same is not happening in Guyana, where the final court declared that the figures from the Recount exercise must be the basis for the declaration of the March 2 election. Imagine, racist governments in South Africa and America, long opposed to equality and the right to vote for non-Whites, have gone past their racism and allowed Blacks, Indians, Mixed and others to vote, and have their votes counted. But in Guyana, a non-White state, in this era of the year 2020, the Government is unwilling to have the votes counted and used as the basis for an election declaration.
A non-White government is unwilling to heed the ruling of a court. Such behaviour is worse than what happened in Jim Crow USA and apartheid South Africa. Guyanese and the people of the world will long remember this resistance to law and reluctance to accept electoral defeat as a most shameful episode in the history of Guyana, if not the world. A government lost a free and fair election but is unwilling to step down. It is long past the time to put an end to judicial recourse as the plan to stop the declaration of the results.And the court also must stop being party to the plan to tolerate electoral fraud. Guyanese say some judges clearly compromised their integrity, or a spirit of fairness that existed even among White racist judges in South Africa and America. The court must stop entertaining appeals and filings of matters that are ‘res adjudicata’ (already decided upon to finality). The current matter before the CoA should be dismissed quickly.
Judicial integrity requires that judges act unanimously to throw it out. I recall, in my studies of American Constitutional Law, on the topic of desegregation (Brown Vs Board of Ed), Chief Justice Earl Warren surveyed the judges and those who planned to vote ‘no desegregation’. He convinced them with lucid arguments why they must vote ‘yes’. No judge should oppose as important a matter as equality of all people, regardless of race or colour. Likewise, no judge should oppose the transparent recount of votes to declare an election. No judge should dissent on the power of an election commission to instruct an election officer who is bent on perpetrating electoral fraud on a nation. Every vote is equal; none should be thrown out. Racist White judges didn’t throw them out in America when the non-White people fought for justice.
We remember well the struggle of Gandhi, Plessy, Mandela, Rosa Parks, King, Sohan Singh Bhakna, Lewis, among others which led to our freedom. It was a long battle, but they persevered and won. The Whites heard their pleas, voices and cries, and said enough was enough. They gave the non-Whites their freedom and the right to vote and have their votes counted fairly. The Government of Guyana must follow in the footsteps of those racists in America and South Africa: Free the people! The Guyanese people and the world anxiously wait to see if judges would make a similar ruling: that 33 is not a majority of 65; or whether “more votes” means “valid votes”. Is there such a thing as counting ‘invalid votes’? non-Guyanese ask.