Guyana “saved from dark days of tyranny” – Pres Ali
March 2 elections anniversary
…announces Order of Democracy for defenders
As Guyana today marks one year since the March 2, 2020 elections which were marred by attempts that threatened Guyana’s democracy, President Dr Irfaan Ali said that Guyana is fortunate that those who tried to subvert the democratic will of the people did not succeed. The Guyanese people, the Head of State said, were determined to resist and repel the public mischief which was being orchestrated.
He noted that were it not for the vigilance, courage and resoluteness of Guyanese people, supported by the international community and witnessed by the international election observers, “our country would have returned to the dark days of tyranny.”
“Brave men and women – of all ages, classes, ethnicities and political affiliation – came together in a heroic battle to defend our motherland from one of its gravest threats: the attempt to trample the democratic will of the people,” the President said on Monday evening. This defence, he added, of this right and the fact that it enjoyed the support of a wide cross-section of fair-minded Guyanese manifested our people’s resolve to live in a free society as “One People, One Nation, One Destiny”.
“March 2nd has therefore become a celebration of our people’s stoic defence of democracy. It represents the determination of our people to maintain Guyana as a democratic state which respects the rule of law, the separation of powers and the expressed will of the people through free and fair elections.”
He said that he has taken a decision to institute a national award, the Order of Democracy, in recognition of the contributions of those individuals and organisations who defied the riggers and defended our democracy.
The names of those to be awarded the Order of Democracy will be announced later this year, the Head of State said.
Beginning of battle
The battle began in December 2018, when the David Granger-led APNU/AFC coalition Administration fell to a no-confidence motion brought by the then Opposition PPP/C.
The Granger Administration violated the Guyana Constitution by refusing to concede defeat and call elections within three months as constitutionally stipulated.
Instead, it mounted a legal challenge that reached all the way to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which upheld the validity of the motion of no-confidence and ruled that elections in Guyana ought to have been held since March 2019.
Fast-forward to the March 2, 2020 elections, and what was already deemed a free, fair, credible and transparent electoral process by all international and domestic observers and the diplomatic corps, descended into chaos in light of a number of events which eventually led to Returning Officer for Region Four Clairmont Mingo blatantly attempting to alter the results of the elections – much to the objection of every stakeholder except the APNU/AFC coalition. In fact, in his alterations, Mingo added more votes to the APNU/AFC and subtracted votes from the PPP/C, in a bid to give the then incumbent a false victory.
A recount exercise was eventually embarked upon, and despite attempts by political operatives and compromised electoral officials to frustrate the process, the activity confirmed that the PPP/C had won the elections with a commanding 233,336 votes, a remarkable lead of 15,416 over its nearest political rival, the APNU/AFC.
But despite the announcement of these certified results, Harmon’s coalition party refused to concede defeat and mounted more challenges in a bid to further deny the will of the people.
Following the imposition of sanctions by the US Government against several top officials who were attempting to undermine democracy, the David Granger regime eventually conceded defeat, paving the way for Ali to be sworn in.
Notwithstanding, the coalition continued to peddle the inaccurate narrative that the APNU/AFC coalition had won the elections.