Never again! – President Ali on attempts to steal election, undermine democracy

Monday, August 2, 2021, marks one year since the end of the five-month tumultuous period following the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections and according to President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, those assaults on Guyana will never be repeated.
In an Address to the Nation to commemorate one year since he was sworn in as Guyana’s 10th Executive President and the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) into Government, Dr Ali saluted all stakeholders both here and abroad who stood firm to defend the Guyanese institutions and its Constitution.
“Never again shall we countenance, in our country, any attempt to deny the popular will of the people… I hope and pray that never again will our people have to endure the agonising and fearful ordeal that we suffered for five months from March 2 to August 2, 2020. Never again should the air of freedom that we breathe be poisoned by the noxious fumes of electoral malpractice, and fraud. Never again should our integrity as a nation be threatened by the base motives and the nefarious intrigues of those who will defy the will of the people, and subvert our democracy, and their lust for personal power.”
He said the post-March 2020 events were a historic time as citizens took a stance that the rigging of elections would not be tolerated then or in the future.
“We established with resolve that Guyana and the Guyanese people are committed to democracy and democratic principles including respect for the majority.”
“That victory was ours, ours as a people longing for peace, progress and prosperity. It was a triumph for rule of law, and democracy and ‘One Guyana’.”
The Head of State further stated that even after being unmasked for their actions to steal the elections during those five months when the country was locked in an impasse and at risk of international sanctions, the culprits are still masquerading as “paragons of virtue”.
“[They continue] to try to deceive and mislead the people whose hopes they dashed and whose beliefs they destroyed. They remain trapped in the failed politics of race and in the flawed policies of division, offering no new ideas, no novel vision, and no creative pathways for Guyana’s future. They have become yesterday’s shadows.”
“By contrast, over the past year, I’ve made clear by words, and by deeds, my deep and swerving commitment to One Guyana: One People, One Nation, in which all races and all persons are equal, with common rights, common entitlements and shared benefits. From the first day of my presidency, I’ve insisted on and demonstrated a firm commitment to good governance and transparency, to upholding fundamental human rights and to advancing equitable development for all.”
On March 2, the original counting of the ballots cast had proceeded smoothly and had been completed in nine (9) regions with the PPP/C in a commanding lead.
However, the tabulation of Statements of Poll (SoPs) was interrupted in District Four (Demerara-Mahaica) after Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo switched from the legal procedure – which ensures transparency – whereby each SoP had to be exhibited to the stakeholders present to enable comparison to their copies. However, Mingo diverted to a procedure where the purported numbers from the SoPs were incorporated into a consolidated spreadsheet. This led to immediate calls for transparency from both local and international observers.
After recourse to the High Court, all the parties except APNU/AFC protested the sleight of hand that facilitated an inflation of the votes for that party.
Following a High Court’s decision, Mingo was ordered to revert to the prescribed procedure but he repeated his subterfuge in another guise and submitted totals that varied substantially from those of other parties and had the APNU/AFC ahead rather than the PPP/C.
The Chairwoman of GECOM, Retired Justice Claudette Singh agreed to a recount of the all votes, which had been proposed by caretaker President David Granger and agreed to by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo after an intervention by several Caricom leaders.
Both leaders had recommitted to accepting the results of the recount.
The recount showed that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) won the March 2 General Elections with 233,336 votes cast in its favour. The APNU/AFC secured 217,920 votes.
For the new parties, the numbers are as follows: A New and United Guyana – 2313; Change Guyana -1953; Liberty and Justice Party – 2657; People’s Republic Party – 889; The Citizenship Initiative – 680; The New Movement – 244; and the United Republican Party – 360.
In the Regional Elections, the PPP/C also won with 233,661 votes, while APNU/AFC secured 217,055 votes. Change Guyana -2607; Fed-Up Party – 153, Liberty and Justice Party -2935; Organisation for the Victory of the People – 448; People’s Republic Party – 927; and the United Republican Party – 1369.