The entire nation anxiously awaits the ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) today and it is hoped that the dragged-out electoral process will come closer to finality.
However, the decision by the CCJ should not be seen as a win for any group since at the end of the day, as citizens we are all expected to work together with one common aim, that is, to help build our country into a modern, democratic state. On this basis, our hope is that all political leaders and their supporters will recommit themselves to work towards peace and racial harmony, irrespective of whichever way the decision goes.
The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has already directed the Chief Elections Officer to prepare and submit a Report “using the results of the recount, for consideration by the Commission”, pursuant to Article 177 (2) (b) of the Constitution and Section 96 of the Representation of the People Act.
Contrary to what the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition is peddling, the entire nation knows what the certified recount results are and which party has emerged as the winner. The Chief Elections Officer cannot function independently of the direction of the Commission. The Chief Elections Officer is at all material times subservient to the Commission and can only act in accordance with the direction, and remains under the control, of the Commission.
It is our hope that the APNU/AFC coalition will be honest with their supporters by letting them know the true results of the elections. It makes no sense to push a false narrative of ‘victory’ when everyone knows that the coalition has lost power. It is a dangerous game the coalition is playing with their supporters and the country as a whole and it must desist from doing so. Several stakeholders have called on the coalition to concede defeat and begin the process that would allow for a smooth transition of Government, but it has refused to do so and this certainly is contributing to the heightening of tension in the society.
Further, the current street protests launched by the APNU/AFC across the country serve no good and could only exacerbate an already tension-filled environment as it can spark counter-protests and clashes by other political groups.
Our political leaders must rein in their supporters and insist that they behave responsibly as the nation’s future is at stake. This is the kind of political leadership that is needed at this time.
We join the many calls for all political leaders and citizens to desist from making racially-motivated remarks which can incite others and contribute even more to the high level of tension in the society.
The Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) had noted that the public utterances, including the building of expectations by some officials and their political subjects, have and continue to contribute to the heightening of tensions and a further widening of unwanted divisions among Guyanese.
As stated by the ERC, the desire for peace and good relations will take genuine and collective efforts by all stakeholder groups and individuals. These efforts would also include acceptance of the elections results when they are declared by GECOM.
The current elections climate has once again reminded us of how polarised our country is; and perhaps now more than ever, there is need for all stakeholders, including the incoming administration, political parties, civil society groups, and religious leaders to prove to the nation that they have matured politically and are willing to put country first, ahead of any partisan interests.
Citizens are looking to see the kind of political leadership that would be provided to bring the country back in line to a functioning democracy. Guyana will certainly be tested in the coming days.
Even as we await the official declaration from GECOM, our hope is that every Guyanese would exercise tolerance and respect for each other. Now that Guyana is about to benefit fully from the revenues from its oil resources, the possibilities for development are endless, but this would be difficult to achieve in a society where peace and harmony are absent.