THOSE who profess to be leaders and the defenders of democracy, uprightness and decency, but are guided by these standards only when it meets their personal motives are pretentious and the opposite of what they proclaim to defend.
This is the strong opinion of trade unionist Lincoln Lewis who penned the same in his weekly column in the Kaieteur News on Sunday with the title: ‘I feel I have all right to be angry. Listen to my story.’
Lewis’ words ripped into leaders who have been verbally fighting against the interim injunction filed and granted by the High Court blocking the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) from facilitating the national recount of all the votes cast at the March 2 General and Regional Elections.
Lewis said he was angry and had every right to feel so as those now criticising a citizen for utilising the very existence of the court sang a different tune when the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) secured three injunctions in the court to block the release and declaration of the results for the elections.
Lewis said that it is understandable that one would be angry when some in the Guyanese society “operate in ways to suggest that they are the guardians of right and wrong” with one hand, but “blatantly violate those basic tenets” with the other hand under the pretence of uprightness.
“Anger is an appropriate emotion when one observes that those who set themselves up as morally right, as victims, themselves are amongst the worst who seek to deny others their right. Our recent example is a case in point, where one group exercises their right to file an injunction to stop GECOM from declaring results until a recount was done, yet they turned around and sought to denigrate a sister for similarly filing an injunction to stop an act that she believes was wrong. The body fabric of our society has become so tattered,” he lamented.
Equally terrible, he said, “are the silent and condoning acts of persons looked up to in society as others disregard for the role of the court and take on an attitude of overstepping on the basis of “getting it over and done with.”
The trade unionist observed that leaders have gone as far as to challenge and demand that President David Granger overstepped his constitutional powers by ordering the elections commission on the actions it should take.
Lewis stated: “Why shouldn’t I be angry when a President is on record, repeatedly committed to non-interference into GECOM, to respect its constitutional independence, the Laws of Guyana, and the rulings of the court guiding its function, yet he is being called upon by some to disregard these and deliver to the nation a recount in the absence of the court having pronounced.”
He noted that such efforts have been realised by both “internal and external forces” ulterior motives than what they profess as “uprightness and decency.”
He also said that such actions have led to manipulation of the wider public with the stirring up of animosities and ethnic differences.
Whether the fact was already clear or not, Lewis reminded that each branch of government – Executive, Legislative and Judiciary – has a function and undermining of the court’s function will harbour nothing but undemocratic societies.
He made it clear that despite whatever agreement brokered by President David Granger, Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo and CARICOM, the lines of right and wrong with regard to the law must not be blurred.
What we ought to be wary of is leadership devoid of substance and opinion used to sow seeds of discord,” he advised.
“Sometimes I get angry when the lines become blurred or good men act in a manner that will divide rather than weld the nation. This Guyanese man has a right to anger over the indiscretion of those who conveniently cast aside time-honoured principles, laws and rights in furtherance of an agenda. The only thing that has kept this nation, in spite of periodic tension and conflict, as a unitary body and will guarantee our individual and collective peace, safety and harmony is adherence to the law,” Lewis said.
Today, the attorneys in the matter currently before the court will put forward arguments on whether or not applications in question should be heard simultaneously.
These applications are the ones filed by Bharrat Jagdeo and Reeaz Holladar, Attorney Anil Nandlall’s personal driver, seeking to set aside the second declaration made by the Region Four Returning Officer on March 13 and the application filed by Ulita Grace Moore barring GECOM from doing the national recount.
Holladar had asked the High Court to invalidate the March 5 declaration by the Region Four Returning Officer. Jagdeo, through his lawyers, will be required to submit an affidavit in defence by today, while Moore’s attorneys have until Wednesday, March 25, to submit their replies.