Is democracy under threat?

Is democracy under threat?

Dear Editor,

Under the current disturbing circumstances, the edifice of democracy, for which the nation began to construct in 1992 after almost three decades of dictatorship, seems to be in danger. The trust of a transparent electoral process, so key to the foundations of a democracy, seems lost. So many are culprits hijacking the electoral and democratic process; they are engaged in immoral, unethical and illegal activities. The conduct and behaviour of some individuals who should be paragons of virtue and defenders of democracy have brought utter shock to the population, diplomats and observers. Words cannot describe the conduct. Are their alleged illegal actions deliberate? Are they complicit in any plan or conspiracy to derail the electoral process?

The entire process and the behaviour of key individuals of GECOM, not least being the Chair, CEO, Deputy CEO, PRO, Region 4 RO, among others, merit full investigation and enquiry, so that persons responsible for attempts at derailing the democratic electoral process are exposed and punished. The conduct of GECOM’s staff raises questions about Guyana’s constitutional propriety, electoral procedure, and transparency.

Regardless of which party one supports, freedom fighters of democracy of the 1960s thru 1992 must not leave any stone unturned to ensure the triumph of the ballot over bullet and of democracy, to support the transparency of the electoral process, and to uphold constitutional governance, and the values enshrined therein as well as in the Election laws of the country. Supporting a particular party should not be used as a justification to close one’s eyes to electoral fraud or to condone electoral skullduggery. The entire nation must come together to foil any attempt by GECOM to perpetrate electoral fraud on the nation.

The court has ruled on how verification of Region 4 count should take place. Statements of polls (SOPs) as obtained on election day March 2, a copy of which from each polling station was displayed publicly and of which every party was entitled, must be used to verify (ascertain) the count and from which the outcome would be declared. Anything short of that requirement would be defying the court’s order and defrauding the voters of their will (which party they wish to govern them). In addition, any other process would be a violation of the election law that clearly states that SOPs must be used to ascertain counts and to declare a winner.

There are credible allegations that GECOM personnel defied the court’s order. There was sheer mockery of the rule of law (defying orders enunciated by the Chief Justice) on Thursday as there were of the electoral process a week earlier. The court, its Marshals, and the police must be used to execute the orders of the court to ascertain the vote count using SOPs. Since GECOM is in default of carrying out the orders of the court, then it is advised that the court supervise the verification of the Region 4 ballots. This is the only way to save democracy in Guyana.

Yours truly,
Dr. Vishnu Bisram

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