Home Letters GCCI in support of fairness and transparency
I am pleased that the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) is in support of ‘fairness and transparency’ here in Guyana. The body wants legal “Moves to hold recalcitrant officers of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) accountable for their partial and perverse actions during the March 2020 General and Regional Elections.”
Let us note that this organisation was an accredited observer of the elections, and so it is quite in order to make such a request. According to the Chamber, its officials witnessed (first hand) “…several acts of obfuscation, open defiance to the instructions of the Commission and the Courts by agents who are duty-bound to uphold the law.” This kind of recalcitrance must be expurgated with finality.
The GCCI explained that “Their open defiance and abdication of their statutory responsibility placed Guyana in a precarious situation, where attempts at subverting the will of the people could have placed our country in the league of pariah states,” and I add ‘right back into a pre-1992 dictatorship mode’.
In line with the thinking of the GCCI, People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Member of Parliament Sanjeev Datadin detailed that “considering what occurred after polling day on March 2, 2020, the removal of Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield, Deputy Chief Elections Officer Roxanne Myers, and Returning Officer for Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) Clairmont Mingo is imperative if public confidence in the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is to be restored.”
This ‘idea of accountability and prosecution’ leads to something I am totally in support of; it is where the “GCCI is calling on the leadership of Guyana to ensure that the electoral reform process is undertaken with greatest of urgency.”
The body stressed that “It is imperative that these reforms be undertaken to ensure that the inalienable rights of every citizen of Guyana be protected, and that our (Guyana’s) democracy – a precondition to a growing economy – be fortified in its safeguarding.”
Recently, the work in this specific area has come under some serious attack. I personally am in support of the move: “the US Department of State supports an 18-month project to strengthen the capacity of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and the Attorney General’s Chambers regarding electoral processes, and to encourage civil society organisations (CSOs) to advocate for electoral reform in accordance with regional and international standards.”
This kind of thing is absolutely indispensable, especially with what transpired during the 2020 Guyana Elections.
The project is supposed to be implemented by the International Republican Institute. This body is all about advancing democracy and freedom, but not in a high-handed manner, as it seeks to “…link people with their Governments, guide politicians to be responsive to citizens, and motivate people to engage in the political process.”
The IRI, I add, is a top-notch international democracy-development organisation. Its history is well documented, having done high-class work in more than 100 countries going back to 1983. It is quite broad-based too, having done work in places like Africa, Asia, Eurasia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and North Africa.
The Opposition is shunning this kind of slant, but my hope is that the Government would move ahead and seek to block the ‘possible loopholes’ that allowed for all kinds of evil attempts at rigging the last Guyana Elections.