Home Letters Elections delay wearing Guyanese people’s patience thin
The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) is deeply concerned regarding the continued delay in the hosting of National and Regional Elections in our country. It is a now well-known fact that elections ought to have been held nearly six months ago. The reality is that today we are really no closer to the hosting of the elections. From recent media reports, we learnt that elections possibly can be held in March 2020, one year after they were constitutionally due. This has to be a record of sorts, we believe.
The FITUG is conscious that, among other things, the elections deadline slipped because of what has been recognised as a baseless case challenging the legality of the No-Confidence Motion. While it is opined that the unnecessary and costly pursuance of the legal gymnastics was one of the means to delay the inevitable, the Guyanese people, notwithstanding the clarity they have on the matter, are today being denied their inalienable constitutional right to exercise their franchise in free and fair elections. We hasten to remind, again, that this right was won out of the struggles of the Guyanese working people.
The Federation has seen and heard of several of the rationales regarding the reason(s) for the protracted delay in the hosting of elections. While we will refrain from offering a specific comment, we well recognise there seems to be more than what meets the eye. The delays have, undoubtedly, caused us and many Guyanese to be anxious and apprehensive. And, the continued delays have only served to heighten anxiety and worry. At this time, when several important national matters remain unaddressed, the bedrock of our democratic foundation, it appears, is being taken for granted by those who hold the reins of power and authority. This is neither in our interest or well-being and can well set a very negative precedent for the future.
The FITUG is aware that, over the years, huge sums have been allocated to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to improve the organisation’s efficiency and effectiveness. Apart from State support, friendly and supportive bodies have also lent their assistance and expertise to improving the functioning of the electoral body, undoubtedly, in recognition of the important role it plays in our country. It is, therefore, for us, a great disappointment that the body, it seems, is unable to get its act togetheewr and undertake its significant function in upholding our nation’s democracy through elections that are free and fair and free from fear as well. Indeed, as Stabroek News reported on September 9, the conduct of elections with acceptable outcomes within a short space of time is not outside of the remit of the electoral body. It obviously brings into question what is preventing GECOM from repeating past feats on this occasion.
Our constitutional clock is essentially now beyond the midnight hour and yet we continue to hear excuse after excuse being invoked. Undoubtedly, the patience of all right-thinking Guyanese has worn thin and the need for credible elections within a short space of time cannot be underscored. The unnecessary procrastination has caused us too much time and the need for further delay cannot be excused. At this time, it is our view that the use of the House-to-House data remains questionable at best and really should be set aside. Certainly, the time-tested Claims and Objections remains the best approach to address non-registered, eligible voters.
The FITUG, at this time, looks to the new Chairperson of the Commission, Justice (retired) Claudette Singh to take decisive action. The Chairperson had publicly committed to upholding the law, which has been dissected in recent times, and for which the consequences are now as clear as day. Continued temporising by the Chairperson is not in our country’s interest and we look to her to live up to her “Iron Lady” moniker.
Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana