I am an overseas Guyanese who until now has shown very little interest in local politics. I would like to offer a perspective from this side of the pond. For the sake of full disclosure, I unwittingly made a small donation to the AFC by proxy about 6 years ago.
I was drawn to the subject by a recent New York Times article `Oil Bonanza Plunges Guyana Into Political Crisis.’ I was struck by the international outcry and the negative coverage of the March 2 elections in the international media. In the aftermath of Burnham and Jim Jones, this could become the next major embarrassment for our dear country.
Sadly, this one is self-inflicted, entirely avoidable but easy to fix.
Mr Granger knows which party won the election. His party received copies of the Statements of Poll issued by the polling stations in Region 4 on March 2. Mr Granger can demonstrate to the world that he is a credible leader by publishing the SOPs for all to see. In so doing, he can prove that his party won the election and dispel spurious claims by his opponents. As it stands, an adverse inference can be drawn from the presumption that if the SOPs supported victory for Mr Granger’s party, he would have produced them. It is not complicated.
I have read extensively on the subject. I just read Mr Ramjattan’s opinion piece in another publication in which he asserts that Gecom as currently constituted, must be presumed to be credible. That would require wilful blindness. Mr Ramjattan may be very good at that but decent human beings know wrong when they see it.
He suggests that all publicly available information should be ignored and the president should be sworn in and hold office based on a questionable and possibly fraudulent declaration from a discredited RO. Thereafter, his opponents can spend the next five years trying to remove him through the courts. Statements like that tempt me to say for the very first time that I am glad I no longer live there.
My questions arising from Mr Ramjattan’s piece are as follows:
- When is it ever right for anyone to be ruled by an unelected government for even a day?
- With your approach what would prevent openly corrupt or fraudulent ROs, now or in the future, from becoming king makers?
- How can citizens rely on the courts to count their votes when the highest court in the land did not accept that the no confidence motion was properly passed?
- Is it pure coincidence or was the discredited RO in Region 4 already aware of and pursuing your plan?
- If Mr Granger is in the loop as you suggested, did he mislead the nation and Prime Minister Mottley when he expressed support for the recount and disappointment at the departure of the Caricom team he invited to participate in that process?
Here is how the history of this moment could be written:
The Granger Government having lost a no confidence motion by a vote of 33 to 32, refused to accept the results and hold elections in accordance with the law. The government pursued a frivolous defence all the way to the CCJ and was unsuccessful in its bid to remain in office. The court ordered that elections be held within a prescribed time but the government ignored that order. The court also ruled that the President acted improperly when he installed a hand-picked proxy to head the elections commission.
The next chapter is being written at this very moment but it could include the following passage.
Even Mr Burnham, with all faults, was more discrete in the actions he took to secure re-election. To his credit, Mr Burnham spared the country the anguish of elections stolen in plain sight.
I close with a great deal of sadness.