The current political travesty that has been taking place in Guyana has been described by Chair of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and Prime Minister of Barbados as “bizarre”. But here in Guyana, the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change has not seen their action to steal an election as unusual or weird in any way. Rather, they are acting as though it is their democratic right to derail and discard the will of the Guyanese people.
Unfortunately, this dictatorship is being aided by none other than persons right within the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). The most recent attempt was by Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield to magically discard over 115,000 votes at his own whim and fantasy under the disguised pretext that he was being guided by the recent ruling of the Court of Appeal.
These ‘new’ figures, which he claims are “valid and credible votes”, reflect the invalidation of almost 25 per cent of the votes cast at the General and Regional Elections. What is more tragic is the David Granger- led administration is pretending to be unaware of this deceit and is claiming victory on known fraudulent and fictitious figures.
Members of that administration have since launched an attack on not only Mottley, who questioned on what executive fiat Lowenfield can invalidate already certified votes, but accused the wider international community of interfering in Guyana’s internal affairs. This repeated accusation now comes from caretaker Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, who once fought against dictatorship in Guyana, but now seeks to materially benefit from it.
Nagamootoo accused the international community of using Guyana as a “pawn” in what he claimed is a “geo-strategic game that that they (international community) have mapped out in their own interest.” Nagamootoo’s comments come one day after the American, British, Canadian and European Union envoys issued a joint statement saying: “It is important, in our view, that every vote cast by every voter be reflected in that declaration, in order to ensure that the will of the people of Guyana is respected. That respect includes an election declaration of results that mirror the order and integrity displayed by the people of Guyana, GECOM and party officials, as witnessed by domestic and international observers during the 2 March General and Regional Elections.”
As a matter of fact, the international community is only an inconvenience to the APNU/AFC regime when calls are made for democratic principles to be respected.
In April, United States Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch, in an Op ed had said that a common criticism of diplomatic statements during politically charged election cycles is that they amount to foreign interference. To quote the ambassador, “…in foreign policy, the difference between meddling and practising good diplomacy is that the latter involves sticking to bedrock principles of human rights, good governance, and transparency and, whenever possible, underscoring the values that bind the country you represent to the country in which you serve.”
It is unfortunate and reprehensible that the APNU/AFC is seeking to resort now to an outright attack on Caricom and the international community for their strong stance on democracy. If democracy were to fail in Guyana because of the malfeasances in Guyana, as Mottley rightly said, it will not bear consequences for this country only, but rather it would “put the Caribbean Region’s image on the questionable spectrum.”
Rather than unjustifiably attacking our international partners, David Granger and his administration should stop the unprecedented level of gamesmanship, concede defeat, and respect the will of the Guyanese people. From the certified tabulation of elections recount figures, the will of the Guyanese people is clearly to eject APNU/AFC from the helm of Government.