MARRED by widespread allegations of fraud, Guyana’s 2020 General and Regional Elections is beyond repair, and therefore, cannot be salvaged, Veteran Trade Unionist Lincoln Lewis said as he joined calls for there to be no declaration of the results of the highly controversial elections. In effect, Lewis, like Elections Commissioner Vincent Alexander, is calling for the Elections to be nullified.
In a statement on Monday, Lewis said he has been monitoring the Elections closely, and has taken note of the allegations levelled against officers of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) and the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C).
“During the trading of allegations of irregularities some have pointed fingers at Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo, as a perpetrator of alleged electoral rigging in Region Four,” the Trade Unionist said while noting that, to date, there has been no confirmation that the second count declared by Mingo had any legal disputes with respect to the Representation of the People Act.
He said that, as a matter of fact, while there was an attempt to invalidate the March 13 Declaration made by Mingo, no such Order was granted by the High Court, and as such, the Region Four declaration remains the only undisputed results of the March 2 Elections.
Citing a case brought by Reeaz Holladar and Jagdeo v the Returning Officer, Lewis said it was High Court Judge Franklyn Holder, who ruled that any question surrounding the validity of the declared results could only be addressed in an Elections Petition. This, he posited, was agreed to by Jagdeo’s Lawyer, Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes.
The Trade Unionist said while the March Declaration was never invalidated by the Courts, it was international pressure that led to the National Recount. “Unfortunately, bowing to international pressure the President agreed to a recount that has proven to be a huge, but quite a revealing disaster,” Lewis said.
He said it is important to note that, apart from Mingo, others have been accused of rigging the elections. “Others have pointed fingers of accusation at Leader of the PPP/C Bharrat Jagdeo, identified as the mastermind behind the massive irregularities- much of which is a soft word for rigging-unearthed during the recount in PPP/C areas, particularly the lower East Coast of Demerara,” Lewis explained.
He added: “Whereas in the count there were allegations, the recount confirmed widespread irregularities (massive rigging) in all ten electoral districts. None has denied this. Even the CARICOM team witnessing only 18% of the recount noted it to be only ‘reasonably credible.’”
Guyanese, Lewis said, must confront the ugly truth that the 2020 Elections have brought the country at a crossroad with the possibility of electing a government from two choices, both of which are stained by claims of electoral rigging.
“The first rigger accused is identified with a smaller scale rigging in Region four. The first accused rigger is disgraced, condemned and demonised. Whereas the second identified rigger there is massive evidence but persons are being asked to ignore. In the instance of this second rigger, their misdeeds are glamourised, protected and glorified. Some want us to deny one rigger and accept the other rigger, to turn a blind eye to the bigger violator and embrace the skullduggery that was exposed during the recount. They want us to lay a legal foundation in Guyana for acceptable crimes, to reward electoral thievery (rigging) that is in clear daylight, presumptuous and unrelenting,” Lewis reasoned.
But Lewis said there should be no declared winner of the 2020 Elections based on the simple fact that the electoral process, undoubtedly, has been deeply compromised, and therefore lacks integrity. The Elections Commission, he implored, should not heed to local and international pressure to declare a result that is based on a process that lacks credibility and integrity.
“We are being pushed to declare an election that will place a stain on Guyana that the mighty Kaieteur and all the waters of Guyana will never be able to wash away. We are being asked as adults to teach our children, the youth, our next generation, that fraud in high offices is condoned depending on who is breaking the law and who is benefitting. It is being reinforced in this society that wrongdoing by one group is approved and good but evil for another group, whether perceived or real,” the Trade Unionist said.
He added: “We are being pushed to set up a society where might is right and some will never enjoy justice for they are powerless. A society where truth no longer matters and it is determined by those in power, high places, and supported by greater powers, not by law and fundamental principles. Such a society will see some placed on the fringes and marginalised to nothingness because they are deemed to be unworthy of equal rights and opportunities.”
Guyana’s Judiciary, Lewis said, should not choose “a celebrated thief (rigger)” over a “non-celebrated thief (rigger),” but rather uphold the Rule of Law.
Guyana and only Guyana must come out victorious from these elections, the Trade Unionist posited but said that, for such to happen, the judicial system must not be compromised by political actors, within or without, who are driven only by a political agenda to reward a rigger that they approve of.
Turning his attention to the Elections Commission, Lewis reminded that Guyanese were promised a “credible count,” and as such, nothing else would do.
“Society expects no more, no less,” he said, adding: “one can argue safely that both counts would lack credibility by virtue of the second count revealing what is in the first count.”
For that reason, he said GECOM should disassociate from any declaration emanating from these elections.
“Today I call on the Chair, Justice Claudette Singh to draw the strength and fearlessness of all her ancestors who fought to free Guyana from the yolk of colonial domination to attain an independent Guyana. Let moral conscience compliment your jurisprudence, to be true to your record as a SITTING judge and denounce electoral fraud, regardless of its source and magnitude,” Lewis said.
Fear, he posited, must not be a hindrance to the condemnation of those who set out to benefit from electoral rigging. To reward known electoral fraudsters is akin to condoning or being an accomplice to the hijacking of Guyana’s elections. “I call on Justice Claudette Singh to be guided by the fundamental principle of justice where one is not allowed to benefit from known, established, and proven wrongdoing as revealed in these elections,” he pleaded.