Democracy dies; freedoms and rights of all of us are placed at risk

Democracy dies; freedoms and rights of all of us are placed at risk

Dear Editor,
I’m not a lawyer. I’m not a politician. I am a 22-year-old commerce graduate interested in sustainability and innovation.
I care about my fellow Guyanese youths and our future. We need to live in a fair and just world.
It has been heartbreaking to see educated people – people with whom I do not share the same political ideology, but we have been able to have intellectual debates – so blinded by their biases that they are unable to see past the APNU/AFC coalition’s rhetoric.

I have also seen people not comprehending the fact that on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, the Chief Justice ruled, among other things, that any declaration of election results in Region Four must be done in accordance with the Representation of the People Act – meaning a verification of the votes cast by going through Statement of Poll by Statement of Poll in the presence of stakeholders in the electoral process.
I am not going to get into the legal specifics, but multiple sections of the Representation of the People Act were violated by the Region Four Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo.

On March 13, 2020, a second declaration was made for District Four – with the Region Four Returning Officer persisting with a process that lacked transparency and credibility. On this, I have a few questions:
1. How is using scanned or photocopied Statements of Poll (SoPs) – as opposed to using actual SoPs that have security features, which can be reviewed – expected to be something that the Guyanese people accept?
2. How is it that SoPs photographed by Guyanese and shared on election night now show different numbers by GECOM’s count?
3. How is it that the number of votes in some areas of Region Four is more than the number of registered voters?
4. How can it be said that there was compliance with the Chief Justice’s ruling? How has democracy prevailed?
5. How could anyone with common sense think “democracy and rule of law has prevailed” as stated in the coalition’s press release dated March 14, 2020?
6. I voted in Region Four. Most of my friends and family members voted in Region Four. Why is the will of the people being ignored?
7. When the corrupt, indecent and dishonest act of rigging an election – done with the complicity of APNU/AFC and some GECOM staff members – has been rejected by Guyanese, here and abroad; rejected by the international community, how are Guyanese who want their votes counted expected to not be aggrieved?

My fellow youths, this my plea to you, please, do your own research, do not let personal biases against political parties – because of childhood impressions or other factors – cloud your view.

What is happening in our country is wrong; plain and simple. Just look at the facts.
When democracy dies, the freedoms and rights of all of us are placed at risk, regardless of who you voted for. If we do not take a stand against this injustice now, we will sadly end up wanting to tell our future children and grandchild those stories told to us by our grandparents and parents.

Please, stay woke to see that democracy and rule of law prevails.

Nutana Singh

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