4th election anniversary: Guyana’s democracy must never be threatened by riggers again – Pres Ali

…says PPP/C building a Guyana with an advanced governance system

President Dr Irfaan Ali during his televised address

Saturday marked the fourth anniversary of the March 2, 2020, General and Regional Elections and with one year to go before the next elections, President Dr Irfaan Ali has emphasised that riggers must never be allowed to threaten Guyana’s democracy the way they did four years ago.
In a national address, President Ali described the five months between the March 2 elections and August 2 when he was finally sworn in, as “particularly difficult”. According to the President, the then A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition sought to snatch the fundamental rights of all Guyanese.
“Those five months were particularly difficult. It shows how fragile our democracy was. It showed how hell-bent the APNU/AFC coalition was on stealing the greatest democratic value of citizenship – the right to elect a government of your choice. We did not allow them then. And we will not allow them ever again,” he said.
President Ali further recalled the statements recently made by former Prime Minister Hamilton Green – statements that directly advocate for the rigging of elections. The President made it clear that the people of Guyana would never allow rigging to occur again.
“Notwithstanding, all the challenges we had and overcame, we’re steadfast on this journey of building a strong and resilient Guyana. A Guyana, in a world in 2030 and beyond, [that] will be a model of economic growth, a model of sustainable development, a model and a leader in the area of climate change, focusing on forests. An important player in the energy matrix of the world and Region. And a leading player, if not the leader, in the food matrix of this region and an integral partner in the food and security matrix globally,” he declared.
The Head of State further noted the importance of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government continuing its work to strengthen and modernise Guyana’s laws, ensuring that by 2030 Guyana has an advanced governance system.
“We will be, by that time, a country with an advanced governance system, that is built on the best possible technology, with efficiency, reliability, and transparency, being the hallmark of this system.”
“Moving towards digitisation and the modernisation of our laws and legal systems to withstand scrutiny, reduce biases, improve efficiency and to deliver a higher quality of legal and justice services. This is the Guyana we’re building,” he further said.
Under the Burnham regime, there was blatant rigging of the national elections in 1968, 1973, 1978/1980 and 1985 in favour of the People’s National Congress (PNC). It was not until 1992 that the PNC was removed from office when the PPP won the elections and stayed in office until 2015.
When the PNC-led APNU/AFC coalition, under the David Granger presidency, fell to a No-Confidence Motion (NCM) in December 2018, it went against the Guyana Constitution and did not go to elections until more than a year later on March 2, 2020.
In another attempt to cling to power, the APNU/AFC, after an almost smooth polling day, colluded with senior Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) officials to rig the election results – a move which plunged Guyana into five months of political deadlock.
Several international observer missions, including the United States-based Carter Center, and other global bodies, world leaders and even regional powers had called out the PNC-led regime for its blatant attempts to derail the election results.
This support from the international community coupled with strong and persistent pushback from local stakeholders ensured that democracy prevailed through a national recount that was supervised by the Caribbean Community (Caricom).
That 33-day exercise found that Clairmont Mingo, former embattled Returning Officer of Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) – Guyana’s largest voting district – had heavily inflated the figures in favour of the then incumbent coalition.
Mingo, along with former Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield and other GECOM staffers, as well as PNC party activists, is currently before the courts facing several electoral fraud charges. (G3)