Democracy survives in Guyana

Dear Editor,
We refer to the article in Kaieteur News, August 3, 2020 “What Happened Should Never Happen Again in The World” by Freddie Kissoon.
The views expressed are fully endorsed by every defender of democracy in Guyana and in the diaspora. We accept that had it not been for the intervention of members of the diplomatic community, Caribbean Heads of State and the international organisations, Guyana would have been plunged into a lifetime of dictatorship.
But as crucial and important a role the international community as well as many key members of the Judiciary have played, kudos must be extended also to the many activist groups, individuals and news outlets whose combined and unrelenting efforts helped in maintaining the necessary attention and focus on what really was at stake – democracy. The totality of all the contributions allowed hope to overcome hopelessness.
One must not forget the contributions of those who have recently passed. The late Mr Owen Arthur was mentioned but there was also the work the late Mr Depoo, whose early petition of over 7000 signatures in support of democracy and a call for personal sanctions against known riggers was the first to be submitted to the US Embassy in Guyana. Unfortunately, he was not around to see how the sanctions impacted the final outcome.
When a petition appeared online asking for the recall of HC Chatterjee of Canada just for using the word frivolous, a counter-petition online in support of her and other diplomats garnered over 3000 signatures. She must have felt vindicated when several courts including the Court of Appeal opined that repetitive court actions were also vexatious and an abuse of the court process.
The daily newspapers in Guyana also played a key role by publishing many letters in support of democracy. Many groups and individuals submitted letters to the press which could not publish them. Thousands of volunteers from many countries also signed and shared several petitions, all helped in some way. Unlike others who are being paid and a few who should have been fired, those who should be singled out for special mention are the courageous individuals, who until the end of the recount process and at times braving the rainy weather, kept a 24/7 vigil on the containers in which the ballots were stored; And to those who spent countless hours from every corner of the globe organising and demanding action from Governments in their countries of residence.
Then there was the myriad of video conferencing and interviews, all the advocacies which helped in shaping opinions and influencing key decisions.
Democracy Watch 2020 of the GTA in Ontario joined the efforts in mid-March, by writing letters asking the Canadian Prime Minister and other world leaders to impose sanctions on the offenders who were trying to steal the election. The ad hoc apolitical group remained active throughout the struggle. An online petition by this group starting in mid-July calling on GECOM to declare Dr Ali President of Guyana, garnered over 200 signatures before it was mission accomplished.
Democracy is alive in Guyana through the steadfast commitment and hard work of all of the above. We hope it will be lasting. The group of volunteers at Democracy Watch 2020 is appreciative of the advice and guidance of retired lawyer and author Mr Ramnarine Sahadeo. We thank him and all others who helped in the preservation of democracy on Guyana.
As Guyana seems poised for a liberated future where cohesion, inclusiveness and participation of the citizenry aided by good governance will hopefully be realised, Democracy Watch 2020 will remain vigilant.
Best of luck to the new Administration.

S Bernard, S. Alexander, N Hanif, H Ragnauth, K Ramprashad, R Persaud, N Megnauth, RM Singh, Pandit B Benimadhu