BY: DR LESLIE RAMSAMMY
By now the whole world has witnessed and rejected an overt, clumsy, brazen, barefaced attempt to thief the elections in Guyana. There is dismay, justifiably so, that 132 days later, the winner of the March 2 elections, the 9th President of Guyana, has not been sworn in, the winning party has not been able to form the new government, the new Parliament is still to be convened.
So that it is clear, the PPP convincingly won these elections freely and fairly. Since 2015, it was the third overwhelming electoral win for Bharrat Jagdeo’s PPP. The PPP won more than 60% of the votes in the 2016 local government elections, more than 66% of the votes in the 2018 local government elections; and now, more than 51% of the votes in the March 2,2020 elections in which a dozen political parties contested.
Dr. Irfaan Ali is the 9th President of Guyana, even if the “truth hurts”. We knew these facts by early Tuesday, March 3, and it is therefore more than annoying that, 132 days later, President Irfaan Ali has not been sworn in.
President Irfaan Ali has not been sworn in because David Granger’s rigging cabal are still determined to thief the elections. But the rigging cabal have discovered that thieving the elections has been more difficult than they imagined.
Their gamble that the world would stand by quietly and permit electoral rigging in Guyana has backfired, backfired like a tsunami. Granger’s rigging cabal had anticipated that outside the PPP, everyone would give them a pass. They had banked on a myth – that the new political parties and civil society, including the private sector, hated the PPP more than they detest electoral rigging and dictatorship. They had gambled that the media in Guyana and the Caribbean would turn a blind eye to the rigging and dastardly manipulation of the results because they hated Bharrat Jagdeo and the PPP more. They had imagined a world in which CARICOM, the Commonwealth, the OAS, the ABCE countries and the international observers would have preferred Granger and his version of the PNC, even if they had to pretend they did not see any rigging. After all, the Commonwealth, CARICOM, the OAS and the ABCE countries had stood by quietly, leaving the struggle up to Cheddi Jagan’s PPP during the Burnham and Hoyte dictatorships.
Granger’s PNC even assumed that the international stakeholders would do the same for his PNC. Clearly, Granger and his rigging cabal miscalculated, miscalculated big time.
David Granger was never a hostage of the rigging cabal, he was the leader of the rigging cabal all along. He and his rigging cabal never imagined they would have had to confront a united Guyanese population; a determined, resolute international partnership, all united to stop anyone from thieving the elections.
Guyana lived with dictatorship for 28 years under Forbes Burnham and Desmond Hoyte’s PNC, and the last five years under David Granger’s PNC. Granger tried to disguise his PNC with a new name – APNU+AFC – but the stripes have been exposed.
Amidst the frustration and dismay that most Guyanese and international stakeholders have experienced since March 2, as Granger’s rigging cabal tried and tried again to thief the elections, seemingly never giving up, there is also a more determined partnership, led by the Guyanese people, to stop dictatorship and to allow democracy to prevail.
We should not despair; this shameful period of thuggery and electoral fraud will come to an end sooner, rather than later.
It became obvious since early 2018 that Granger was setting up a rigging cabal. His illegal appointment of James Patterson to chair GECOM was one of the signal acts that he and his version of the PNC were already deep in the planning for a rigged election. Thus, besides those in APNU+AFC who were the directors of the rigging machinery, there was the rigging arm of the Commission with the three Commissioners and Lowenfield.
It was Lowenfield who permitted Clairmont Mingo to tamper with the Region 4 results. Hundreds of Statements of Poll from the March 2 counting of ballots were misrepresented by Mingo, allowing him to submit two Region 4 declarations on March 5 and March 13. On March 14, Lowenfield used the March 13 Mingo fraudulent declaration to submit a report to GECOM, with APNU+AFC illegally declared the winner of the March 2 elections. Since then, Lowenfield has submitted three more reports, all with different numbers. So the elections have had seven declarations, only two with the same numbers – the Statements of Poll results from March 2 and the Recount, both show the PPP won with more than 233,000 votes.
These were the only two declarations based on actual ballots. All the others were based on manipulations of bogus spreadsheets by Mingo and Lowenfield.
The Chair of GECOM has rescheduled the Saturday aborted meeting to Monday at 11.00 hours. This meeting will be legally reconstituted whether or not APNU+AFC commissioners choose to attend. Hopefully, the GECOM Chair would lead the Commission to reject the fraudulent Lowenfield report.
At this meeting, she has to censure Lowenfield and appoint another officer within GECOM to prepare the legal report, a report reflecting the true results. With the true results in hand, she should schedule a declaration meeting. While APNU+AFC commissioners would likely boycott that meeting also, she can then reschedule that meeting for the next day, when she needs only three commissioners to legally declare the winner of the elections in accordance with the laws of Guyana.
It is not easy, but because it is the right thing, it is hard. The only way for Guyana to move forward with progress and prosperity is to travel on the road of democracy.
After 132 days, enough is enough. This coming week, we must swear in Guyana’s 9th President – President Irfaan Ali.