Guyanese suffer while election results dragged out – FITUG
3 months after elections
…says rampant claims of irregularities fictitious
On the three-month anniversary of the March 2 General and Regional Elections, the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) has urged a timely conclusion to the election impasse while noting that the whole country is suffering.
FITUG on Tuesday pointed to the COVID-19 strain on the economy, the inability of City Hall to pay its workers and the Government halting its hamper distribution drive, as further evidence of the need for a stable, legitimate Government to take care of the country’s needs.
“The ongoing electoral shenanigans, of course, have been more harmful for our working people and their families. In recent days, media reports have brought to the public attention the pain and suffering many Guyanese are facing as they confront the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic,” the trade union said on Tuesday.
It noted that the virtual shutdown of commercial activity has had a significant impact on thousands of Guyanese. Quite a few have been made jobless and the shutdown of certain operations has shut off incomes for tens of thousands.
FITUG recalled that they had called for a number of measures to ease the burden on the backs of Guyanese. These measures had included tax waivers, direct financial support and that assistance in meeting financial obligations be provided to the people in need.
According to the trade union, nothing has been forthcoming and even the State’s hamper distribution was halted without any successor arrangement. “At this time, we see that Guyanese are asked to submit requests for assistance, though it remains unknown as to when the assistance would be forthcoming. We have heard that appropriate assistance has been withheld given the current status of the coalition Government. We take this explanation with a pinch of salt, fully well knowing that the de facto Government has identified some $1B to rehabilitate the former Ocean View Hotel,” FITUG observed.
Some of these electoral shenanigans, according to the union, have included wild claims of electoral fraud. This is likely to be a reference to A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) claims of dead and migrant voters. According to the union, however, several of these claims have been widely debunked as false and belonging to the “world of fiction.”
“We have seen in recent days and weeks; several have sounded the call for credible results. While we share that view, we see that notion of credibility, for some, has taken a warped connotation. In as much as everyone is entitled to their views, we contend that certain principles ought to remain sacrosanct and not bent to suit a certain viewpoint. We know that those who hold those warped points-of-view stand with those who have been consistently harping about certain irregularities.”
The union added that the fact that men and women who stand up and call themselves “principled” and seek to espouse calls about credible elections but yet ignore the many fallacies, “causes us, at this time, to question their sincerity to upholding democracy, to respect the rule of law and the concept of social justice and equity. We have to wonder whether it is a case of he who pays the piper calls the tune.”
To compound the issue, the union noted that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) submitted a list of alleged ‘migrant’ voters to the Chief Immigration Officer and Police Commissioner, Leslie James, that turned out to be riddled with errors since some of the persons on the list insisted that they were in Guyana.
As a matter of fact, the union noted, GECOM by law should not have even asked the police to assist in the matter. According to the union, the law states that an election petition has to be used to address such issues. According to the union, the current economic and social situation strengthens the need for the electoral process to be completed with haste.
“The biggest victims of the prevailing elections imbroglio remain the nation’s workers and their families. They are facing the brunt of the hardship and are seeing their standard of life slipping away by the day. At the same time, we see any prolongation in the declaration of the results only serving to further undermine their and their families’ well-being.”
According to FITUG, any pursuit or ploy that would give rise to the installation of a Government that is not reflective of the will of the people would be most harmful to thousands of ordinary Guyanese and reverse several years of development and improvement. “Clearly, we are seeing the situation of when elephants fight the grass being trampled,” the union declared.