PNC has always been afraid of electoral reform – PPP

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has slammed the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) and the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) for their opposition to the entrance of the International Republican Institute (IRI) into Guyana, where it would be integrally involved in electoral reforms.

PPP General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo

On Monday, the governing PPP said that it was not surprised to see the APNU/AFC, which is dominated by the People’s National Congress (PNC), opposing the IRI’s work in Guyana.
The IRI is currently working on a project to strengthen the capacity of GECOM and the Attorney General’s Chambers to lay the groundwork as it relates to electoral reform. The 18-month project is being supported by the US Department of State. According to the Party, the PNC has always been afraid of electoral reform.
“The PNC historically has always been opposed to any reform that would enhance Guyana’s democratic structure, strengthen the legal progress, and bring transparency to the electoral machinery. The PNC would like a weak system which they can pervert and corrupt as the world saw them attempt to do for five long months after the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections.”
Nothing has changed, the PPP said, adding that “only recently, the PNC leader, Mr David Granger, is on public record as saying that electoral matters should not be heard and determined by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). Every sensible Guyanese must know that were it not for the CCJ, the PNC would have successfully stolen Government”.

PNC Leader David Granger

The PPP reminded that the IRI was no stranger to Guyana and has, in fact, been integrally involved in improving Guyana’s democratic process over the years. The Party noted that IRI’s role in Guyana has been twisted by the Opposition for political gain.
“Indeed, the very APNU/AFC coalition who is condemning the IRI now was comfortable in partnering with the very IRI during the 2011 and 2015 electoral campaigns across the country. In 2014, the IRI supported the formation of the Guyana National Youth Council.
“A month before the elections, the group rolled out its ‘Vote Like a Boss Campaign’ – a slogan that was coincidentally being used by the APNU/AFC coalition in its campaigning. Therefore, the sudden disdain and criticism of the IRI is simply duplicitous and disingenuous,” the PPP said.

Govt to spearhead
The Working People’s Alliance (WPA), which the PPP referred to as “defunct”, was also criticised by the Party. According to the PPP, claims by the WPA that the IRI would spearhead the electoral reform process were simply not true.
The PPP noted that it was the Government, in fact, that would be spearheading the electoral reform process. In fact, the Party noted that it had made it clear before assuming office that electoral reform would be a priority, but sought to assure that the Opposition parties would have a part to play in this process as well.

“The truth is that the PPP/C’s Administration has made it very clear as soon as they assumed office there will be electoral reforms and the Government would drive that process. It was also made very clear that the Government will accept the assistance and work with various international organisations and Governments, as well as local organisations and political parties that stood with Guyana in defence of our democracy, during the dark five (5) months when it was under severe threat.
“Needless to say, that it is downright naive for anyone to think that such a process can be undertaken without the input of the major Opposition political party in Guyana. The law reforms must be done through the Parliament and the Opposition will have an input, both in and out of Parliament,” the PPP said.

GHRA’s sudden reappearance
Perhaps most egregious of all, according to the PPP, is the GHRA, which the Party noted kept silent during the five-month long struggle for democracy last year, but has now come out of the woodwork to attack the upcoming work that would be done by the IRI.
“For five long months when Guyana’s democracy was under siege, and while every major local organisation made its voice heard, every international organisation in this hemisphere played a part, and 100 Governments across the globe lent their support, we did not hear a murmur from the GHRA.
“Now that we are proceeding to reform the process, in order to strengthen it against the type of fraud we witnessed being attempted to be perpetrated against the will of the Guyanese people, this undemocratic organisation is critical. The least said, the better,” the PPP said.
Earlier this month, a group of labour unions, leaders, and ordinary workers joined forces to establish the “Labour for Electoral Reform” – a body focusing on championing the need for electoral reform in Guyana.
The Labour for Electoral Reform will be led by General Secretary of the Guyana Labour Union (GLU), Carvil Duncan, and its Secretary is General Secretary of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU), Aslim Singh.
Speaking with Guyana Times recently, Singh had explained that the new body was hoping to meet with the IRI, which is doing its work in Guyana with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).