The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has finally gazetted the Order, and the nation was given all assurances that administratively and logistically, everything is in place for the national recount of votes cast in the March 2 General and Regional Elections to commence. The Caricom scrutineer team is also in Georgetown and is ready to play its part in the long-awaited national recount.
After more than two months of drama, the recount is slated to start today at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) and all eyes will be fixed on the process to ensure that the recount is credible and transparent. While we would want to be optimistic that the electoral process would be allowed to conclude and a legitimate government is sworn in on this basis, we will not hold our breath considering all that has happened in the past.
Over the past few weeks, the nation and the entire world saw the unthinkable happen. Many Guyanese could have never imagined that they would have witnessed such barefaced attempts at elections rigging. Many of our young people had only heard of such happenings when LFS Burnham had ruled Guyana during the People’s National Congress (PNC) dictatorial rule.
Guyana will certainly go down in history as the first country, which calls itself ‘democratic’, that took the longest period of time to declare a winner after an election, more so considering its relatively small voting population. This country will be notoriously remembered as the first country to attempt to derail an election on “live television”.
However, with the recount now about to commence, all stakeholders here, including GECOM and the political parties, still have one last chance to show the world that they can save Guyana from going down a path of destruction and hopelessness and return the country to the democratic fold. Whatever happens in the next few days will determine the path the country takes.
Certainly, Guyana cannot claim to be democratic and a basic element of allowing citizens to choose their government is missing. United States Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch, puts it this way: “if you want to be a member of the democratic club, you have to adhere to those responsibilities; you have to adhere to democratic principles; you have to adhere to the bedrock of democracy, which is free, fair and credible elections and the rule of law.”
The world values democratic governance and the general fundamentals of democracy as a whole. Hardcore elements within the APNU/AFC are clearly “unbothered” about the warnings from the most powerful capitals in the world about sanctions that would face Guyana if a government is formed on the basis of fraudulent elections results.
It could be recalled that Guyana’s Ambassador to the US, Dr Riyad Insanally was summoned to a meeting with Assistant Secretary of State Michael Kozak, with the US restating its position that it will not take lightly the formation of a government here based on questionable elections results. However, mere days after the Ambassador was summoned, in a typical act of defiance, the Government, through the caretaker Minister of Foreign Affairs, Karen Cummings, issued a statement ‘reminding’ the international community that Guyana was a ‘sovereign state’, meaning that the APNU/AFC would not allow foreign powers to intervene in Guyana’s domestic issues.
It is a fact that Guyana is a sovereign state, but at the same time we claim to be part of a democratic fold of nations and we are also a signatory to a number of international conventions and agreements which compel us to adhere to certain basic democratic norms; this includes ensuring that citizens are allowed the opportunity to elect a government of their choice in a free, fair and transparent manner.
We have seen over the past few days, the number of impediments and deliberate acts aimed at frustrating the international observers from returning to Guyana to complete their mission. The national recount is the most crucial task ahead for this country. And in the coming days, the eyes of the world will be fixed on Guyana to see who are the “forces” that Prime Minister Mia Mottley referred to, that do not want to have a transparent and credible vote recount.
Not only will history judge these forces harshly, but they will be condemned and sanctioned by the international community. It is our hope that it will come to this. Let the recount begin and the will of the people be heard.