There is an old adage with lots of wisdom: “do not put cat to watch milk”. There is another one: “do not put thieves to watch the bank”. The recount of the ballots cast in the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections in Guyana has become an imperative because a group of people were intent on thieving the election, and they did so for the whole world to see.
It looks like that long-overdue recount is going to happen. APNU+AFC and its collaborators at GECOM might have run and hide as far as they could; they now are face-to-face with the truth: “you can run and run and run, but you can’t hide forever”. GECOM itself — the commission, that is — agreed the recount must be proceeded with. But Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield, who himself at every stage of the March 2,2020 elections has erected roadblocks for free and fair elections, decided he needed a full 48 hours to formulate the logistics for the recount, although those logistics were already worked out since March 15, when the recount was supposed to have started with the CARICOM high-level team assembled by Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley. One would have thought that the logistics would have needed just a few minutes for review, given the passage of time; yet, he was given 48 hours.
For almost a month now, APNU+AFC and their sycophants have played games and used the courts to prevent the real results from being declared. Each day, more and more prominent people within the ranks of APNU+AFC have come out and declared they do not accept Mingo’s numbers. Two of these persons have served as Cabinet members: Dominic Gaskin was a senior Cabinet member and is the son-in-law of David Granger, and Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine was a Cabinet member because he was considered co-leader of the WPA.
Besides them, Sir Sonny Ramphal, who once served as Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Minister and also as Attorney General under a Burnham government, questioned Mingo’s numbers and called for a recount; and the Justice for All Party, the WPA, and ACDA have also called for a recount. Many others have been embarrassed into urging a recount, and the world has joined them in demanding a recount. The courts have ordered the recount.
Some, in conceding implicitly or explicitly that the Clairmont Mingo numbers were fabricated, have twisted themselves more than an American pretzel into justifying the attempted rigging. Nigel Hughes insists the “corn must be distributed” not according to the will of the people, but to the hijacking demands of a small group of people. David Hinds even suggested destroying the ballot boxes and baptizing the present David-Granger APNU+AFC government. Others have deemed the rigging justifiable, because it could force a “national unity” government.
In all of this, these charlatans have thrown aside the rights of the majority of Guyanese people; have thrown into the dustbin the principles of free and fair elections; have dismissed the foundation of democracy as the only way to create long-lasting harmony.
Guyana must continue to work for national unity, and for harmonious religious, ethnic, and racial and cultural relationships. But for this to ever become reality, free and fair elections remain the foundation of building a democratic society. If Guyana cannot sustain democracy, no “national unity” government will ever bring harmony.
So now the recount journey appears to have reached a destination, where the recount will begin. But this has been a tortuous journey, and outside of the roadblocks Lowenfield will bring with his logistics proposals today, there is the “threat” from Moses Nagamootoo that GECOM must acquire the “executive” permission, because of COVID-19 Public Health Ordinance provisions.
Many are highly suspicious Lowenfield will use Nagamootoo’s threat and the COVID-19 crisis to limit transparency for the recount. Already, the three Commissioners within GECOM have indicated observers will be limited to CARICOM. All the observers who were accredited for the elections, who witnessed the shenanigans and wickedness during the Region 4 tabulation, must have the same right to observe. The March 2, 2020 elections have not been completed. They will not be completed until the tabulation is finished and the actual winner declared.
Political parties, civil society organizations, and a majority of Guyanese have concerns that GECOM will continue to use and involve persons who tainted themselves; who openly, brazenly, barefacedly, arrogantly, tried to thief the elections. They did so in front of the world. These persons cannot be in charge of, and must not be near, the recount. Should one or more of the people involved be near the process, the world must be able to watch them, and the only way to do so is by allowing the cameras to record every move.
Guyanese must take a stance. This is about freedom and democracy. This is about Guyana’s future. If we allow them to rig this election, then Guyana will see another era of dictatorship, another era of underdevelopment, and the oil panacea that many people envisaged will blow up in our faces.