Electoral reforms are mandatory

Dear Editor,
Given the well-known circumstances that exist in Guyana – let’s say the “peculiar situation” in which one political party keeps bullying its way past laws and established norms to win an election – electoral reform becomes a mandatory issue. Ever since the institution of self-government in Guyana, it is a well-established fact that the PNC Party has always tampered with elections to forge a victory for itself. Burnham, for 28 years, practised this disgraceful act, to the point where the present lot believes we are compelled to accept it.
Well, I am happy to disappoint them that this shockingly despicable act is no longer a part of our political landscape. Rigging is dead; we have to rush into the emancipated modernity of free and fair elections! For too long, this nation has been mired in the mud of fraudulent elections and in being a country governed by installed personalities. We must embrace a future of freshness and the newness of hope!
Electoral reform is not a new word to us. This term was first coined somewhere before 1990, when the international community was called in to reorganise our electoral machinery. After some stout resistance from the ruling PNC regime, it finally gave in when it realised that the international community was not going to back away from electoral reform.
This ushered in the elections of 1992, held under a new electoral reform charter. Electoral reform did two things: it ushered in an era of ‘one man one vote’ and it put an end to that despicable system of rigging. We thereafter enjoyed the freedom of electoral reform, up until 2011, when there was again the discussion of fraud creeping its way back into the system. Election 2015 was no different, when there was again evidence of fraudulent SOPs being found. By this time, the system of rigging was reintroduction as a well- thought-out, well-fortified strategy. By this time too, it was too late to contest that reinstituted fraud, so the Coalition came to power.
The APNU/AFC Coalition was so full of itself, thinking that it had an airtight system in place, that its members were brazen enough to change the results of the 2020 elections. This shameful act was allowed to drag on for 5 long months, carried out before an international audience; indeed, it shocked us to the core!
This essentially taught us the lesson that we have to review our electoral laws. We must strengthen that which exists, while instituting stringent penalties for those who run afoul of the law. One of the areas that need urgent attention is the revision of the laws governing the conduct of the Chief Elections Officer, to determine what he can and cannot do. All CEOs, whether it is a local person or foreign person chosen, must be cognisant of the fact that there would be severe consequences for electoral fraud, and the certainty that it would not be tolerated here.
Installed Governments are a hindrance to progress. It is for these well-known reasons that our country has been denied progress these many years. Our Caribbean neighbours, where a free and transparent system is the norm, are way ahead of us in the developmental trajectory.
With our newfound oil wealth, we must get into that very same stretch of development.
Fraudulent or installed Governments, a terminology frequently used by the APNU Opposition, are a hindrance to progress, and this foolishness of fraudulent elections must stop now! We will have the strengthening of our electoral laws, so that we get back on to the beaten path of free, fair and transparent elections. This means that we will also have the institution of a Government that is of and for the people. Long live a free and united Guyana!

Neil Adams