It is now more than 114 days since the people voted for President Irfaan Ali and we are still haggling at GECOM and in the courts about something that could not be clearer. Let me, therefore, be pellucid – Dr Irfaan Ali is my President. More than 233,000 people voted for Irfaan Ali to be President. David Granger was fired on March 2. We have been patient, but the time for us to do the right thing is now. David Granger is now a squatter in the Office of the President. His party – the PNC – made Guyana into a squatting country in the 70s and 80s, now Granger is taking squatting to another level.
He has been enabled by sycophants and, worse, he has been enabled by the very institutions that are responsible for defending, respecting and promoting democracy. The Judiciary has not been friendly to democracy in Guyana the last five years. It has enabled those who want to see a return to dictatorship. Judges, the axle on which the wheels of justice turn, find facts, apply the law and exercise discretion.
As soon as APNU+AFC approached the Court of Appeal in Guyana last week to halt moves by GECOM to make the declaration of Dr Irfaan Ali as President, the majority of Guyanese became anxious, worried, frightened, simply because they had no confidence that the Judges of the Court of Appeal would be fair. The majority of Guyanese believe Justices on the Court of Appeal do not judge political cases on merit, but their judgment reflects their own political bias.
When Granger flouted the Constitution and arbitrarily appointed James Patterson as the GECOM Chair, he brazenly breached the Constitution. The Judges in the High Court and the Court of Appeal decided to ignore the clarity of the Constitution, adding words that were not present in the Constitution to conclude Granger had the power to make an arbitrary decision. Any examination of the relevant articles in the Constitution would confirm, even to a lay person, much less those trained in the law, that the Constitution obligates a shared process in the appointment of the GECOM Chair.
That was not the first time that the Judiciary exposed its bias when it comes to the political architecture in Guyana. It was also not the last time. When the no-confidence motion was passed by a majority 33 against 32 in Parliament, the Judges on the appeals circuit decided, indeed, that 33 cannot be more than 32. It was the most glaring example of their biased posture.
Thankfully, the CCJ threw those decisions out of the window and made clear to all that these articles in the Constitution speak clearly and do not need anyone, not judges or any other citizen, to add words so that they can interpret the meaning differently. Judges are not meant to exercise their duty as a witch’s brewery to come up with what they want. The law is the law and must be applied as written.
This brings me to the latest travesty. We have had blatant acts of fraud when Mingo, not once, but twice, tried to replace the actual votes in Region 4 to reflect a lie – that APNU won by 59,000 votes, when in fact they won by about 36,000 votes, increasing their winning margin by 23,000 votes. The recount confirmed that Mingo stole these votes from the East Bank and East Coast Demerara. A High Court Judge was ruling in favour of using those fraudulent votes until a Judicial Review blocked him from doing so. Now we have the results of a total recount that Caricom, the “most trusted interlocutor”, concluded reflected not only the Statements of Poll from March 2, but reflected the true will of the people.
GECOM, the body responsible for the election, after dilly-dallying, after much jiggery-pokery, concluded they must accept the results and declare the winner. A declaration meeting was scheduled, but aborted because APNU+AFC used a surrogate to approach the Court of Appeal with a backdoor election petition. Clearly, the matter was not one that the Court of Appeal should have entertained.
I listened to every word the three Judges spoke. To his credit, one judge stuck with the words in the Constitution and the meaning that was always applied. It was painful listening to the other two Judges – they contorted themselves so much they made a demented American pretzel look less twisted. They added words and claimed jurisdiction. If they want to make law, they ought to be politicians.
The bottom line is the people voted freely and fairly for Irfaan Ali to be President. There were more than 5000 GECOM staff and another more than 5000 representatives of political parties and more than 2000 observers who concluded that almost 470,000 Guyanese showed up on March 2 and cast more than 460,000 valid votes. No one disputed these facts before the attempted Mingo fraud failed. Now we have conjured up ghosts and phantoms in an effort to throw away the March 2 elections. The Judiciary in Guyana seems to want a role in legitimising the ghosts and phantoms myth. The people say, enough is enough, Irfaan Ali is President, who vex, vex.