Free and fair elections

Dear Editor,
There is a movement afoot by the caretaker coalition Government to have the next general election slip from the norm of being free and fair, characteristic values recognised and upheld by every democratic country, to being merely credible.
Synonyms for free and fair include: just, impartial, dispassionate, unprejudiced, even, balanced, straightforward, honest, honourable, righteous. virtuous, decent, unfettered, unobstructed, clear and legitimate. You get the picture.
While a credible election can be interpreted to mean reliable, good and sound, it can also mean that the election was simply plausible and believable, these being qualitative terms that are open to individual perspectives and perceptions: what I believe is not necessarily what you believe.
The norm for the democratic election process being linked to the ubiquitous phrase “free and fair” is not an ad hoc decision that is ever taken lightly. The phrase is used to underscore the clear intent that the process of a democratic election and its outcome should be so just, valid and legitimate that the results would be inviolable and could not be bent to suit any one person’s whims or fancy.
Mr Harry Hergash’s letter in SN last Saturday, August 10, 2019, (Documents show that in the past the PNC considered using Caribbean islanders to rig the 1968 election) should give pause to every citizen. The declassified documents from the US Department of State disclose the PNC’s past plots and plans to use Caribbean nationals to pad the electoral list in order to rig and win elections.
Such elections would not have been free and fair but they would have had the look of being credible and would have passed muster for the PNC and its international allies at the time.
The PNC continues to attempt to revise and rewrite Guyana’s history but the party continues to find that this history does not belong to them. There is always documented evidence that records the facts and proves the truth.
Given President David Granger’s vow to fulfil Burnham’s legacy, the coalition Government’s obstructive moves to delay the elections following last December’s no-confidence vote, the current illegal House-to-House Registration process, the Attorney General’s public threats of violence should his party not get its way, and the coalition Government’s total disregard for the Constitution, it is clear that the country is dealing with the PNC of old and all that this means for Guyana.
It is the duty of every citizen to question and demand proper answers from the relevant authorities with regard to the illegal registration process and the huge influx of Haitians into our country.
These are not merely political issues. Far from it. These issues go to the very heart and soul of our nation and question whether we are willing to have our country held hostage once again to a PNC dictatorship.
It is incumbent on GECOM to deliver a general election that will withstand national and international scrutiny. The election, which is long overdue, must be free and fair, and independent from any political meddling. Nothing else will do.

Ryhaan Shah