There is so much stress in this country over the last several days. The elections have taken a toll on people’s lives. Their normal routine is being affected. As I travel around Georgetown, I notice limited economic activities and movement of people. Businesses are losing money.
Too many stores are closed; workers are not in their numbers in town. People are not buzzing around. Students are not pursuing normal education fearing for their lives.
Georgetown is like a ghost town. People are not out in their numbers. Virtually no major shop is opened; markets have reduced activities. Employees have not come out to work in their numbers.
Also, students have not turned out to schools or at the tertiary institutions as in a normal school day. People are on edge in town as they also are in residential areas just outside of the city. In rural areas, people have refused to make the journey to Georgetown. They are afraid of physical safety. It is likely to remain this way till the election results are officially declared. That may not happen soon. There is a fear that an attempt is being made to change the actual results.
There is a winner in the elections but there is a stalemate on verification of ballots. Verification is needed in order to declare a winner. One side is attempting to stymie the process. There is conflict on how the verification process can go forward. Once verification takes place with the SOPs of last Monday, there is a convincing or close winner. It would coincide with my projection of poll findings that one party would win about 51% to 52% with a margin of 3%.
On declaration of results, I engaged international journalists, the diplomatic community, and foreign observers. It is generally acknowledged by everyone who has been monitoring the process that one party did indeed win the elections by two or three seats. This is based on SOPs provided to the international observers and the media.
But an attempt is being made to derail the process. Before the results are declared all the SOPs have to be verified. And there is a stalemate in declaring a region over verification of the data. Once that is done, there will be no dispute on the winner. There is a report that an official is unwilling to sign a verification sheet. This has led to a fear of skullduggery or machination of the results. Will proper verification take place? Can ballots suddenly appear or disappear?
Results can miraculously change in this land as happened before. The will of the electorate could be frustrated. Will the announced outcome reflect the actual verdict of the voters?
Gecom must do the right thing. Gecom has all the SOPs. It knows the preliminary outcome. It should verify the count on the SOPs and proceed to officially declare the winner. The longer it takes to declare a winner, rumors will spread of fraud. This can lead to social problems.
The Chair, Justice Claudette Singh, must do the right thing. Give instructions to verify the SOPs and proceed with the count. Then declare the results. Once SOPs are verified, the country will know the winner.
Dr Vishnu Bisram