In Guyana, as recounting of the ballots cast painfully drags on at a snail’s pace and too often punctuated annoyingly by unnecessary stoppages, Guyanese at home and abroad anxiously await a finality and a justified conclusion to the election of March 2, 2020.
The country and the Guyanese people have experienced many periods of mental trauma from the time of foreign rule, to current times where even locally appointed and oath taken election officers find themselves compromised and unprepared or unwilling to deliver the credible election results the electorate crave for. A people at times with glimpses of hope is again rendered downtrodden, demoralised or perhaps even hopeless. A nation handicapped in its quest for harmony and cannot yet determine a common destiny, is stunned.
What has transpired in Guyana following the elections of 2020 did catch the attention of patriotic Guyanese in the Canadian diaspora and led to the formation of an apolitical ad hoc committee dubbing itself Democracy Watch 2020. The chosen mandate of this committee is to join with the democratic-minded, everywhere, in the struggle to stave off an impending return to dictatorial rule in Guyana. Cognisant of the history of rigged elections in order to hold on to power in Guyana, the committee anticipated since mid-March 2020 that it would require international intervention with the possible threat of sanctions against key actors in Guyana who are actively engaged in denying the people their will and a Government of their choice. A letter seeking sanctions was forwarded on March 28 to several MPs, the PMO and the DPMO. It was to encourage the Canadian Government to join with other major Governments in implementing punishing individual sanctions until a legitimate Government was installed in Guyana.
Advised and assisted by prominent Guyanese Canadian professionals, Democratic Watch 2020, which does not solicit funds nor accept donations, intends to remain active and vigilant, paying keen attention not only in the heavily interfered with recount process but to also focus its attention on the behaviour of the de facto Govt and it’s less than impressive manoeuvres in preventing internationally recognised and highly reputable election observers from entering Guyana to assist in bringing about a credible declaration of the election result. The committee will advocate for the return of The Carter Center and others.
Also, of grave concern is the mistreatment of foreign diplomats and especially the campaign by known operatives and supporters of the de facto Guyana Govt, for the recall of the Canadian High Commissioner. Her yeomen service to Canada and to Guyana is highly applaudable and enormous gratitude to her is owed. Spearheading the support of Her Excellency Chatterjee is notable retired Canadian Lawyer, Mr Ramnarine Sahadeo, who has been sharing his time between the distribution of his new book on the life Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi Ji and this effort. Mr Sahadeo, who is referred to as the father of the adopt a school programme in Guyana in the 1980s, is currently promoting the Gandhi Tax-deductible Scholarship which he initiated at Mc Master University. The committee stands with Mr Sahadeo and all others who are supporting the foreign diplomats in Guyana. A petition at change.org “Supporting the Canadian High Commissioner and others Championing Democracy in Guyana” has been in circulating since Friday, May 8. and has already garnered more than 3200 signatures.
The committee calls on all relevant authorities in Guyana to help in the progress of the recount, albeit slow, and to not engage in any effort to thwart or abandon the recount exercise. The security of diplomats and observers active in Guyana must also be guaranteed.
It is “now or never”, for real progress and the “one destiny” that all Guyanese so painfully look forward to soon attain.
R Singh, Mississauga, ON; H Ragnauth, Waterloo, ON; N Megnauth, Brampton, ON; Rick Persaud, Mississauga, ON; S Alexander, Toronto, ON; S Bernard, Mississauga, ON; N Hanif, Toronto, ON