Stuffing the ballot just got real

Dear Editor,
As I forewarned the Carter Center and international observers in an earlier piece, stuffing the ballot poses a threat to free and fair elections at the March 2 polls. With GECOM pressing hard to include some 6000 unverified names, the groundwork is being laid. Now that the General Secretary of the PNC has issued instructions for voters to congregate at the place of polls that risk just multiplied ten-fold as it shows a clear intent to disrupt the election machinery.
Congregating at the place of polls is a recipe for disaster. It poses a direct risk to life and property. GECOM officials, observers, party representatives, property owners and voters themselves are all exposed when the mob is outside. If the PNC’s past behaviour is anything to go by, persons will be killed or maimed and buildings will be set ablaze. All of this is intentional as it creates a hostile atmosphere to achieve the following:
a. Voter suppression
b. To scare away observers and Opposition representatives
c. Paves the way for rogue agents to stuff the ballot – the number of unused ballots will be significant because some voters will feel threatened to turn up and secondly because of earlier padding through GECOM adding unverified registrants at PNC’s behest.
Past experience suggests that ballot boxes will be seized and chaos will reign all around. These gatherings provide perfect cover for bandits, looters and arsonists, some of whom double as PNC supporters, and the ideal opportunity for covert operatives to incite hate and build momentum for later hostilities which are now a norm after the elections if PNC/APNU/AFC does not win. All of Guyana loses in such a scenario.
I am hoping GECOM and the police will see the obvious danger and issue a stern warning to Volda Lawrence and the PNC to reverse this instruction. Just imagine if the Opposition chose to play tit for tat. The Carter Center and observers have to be on guard as the PNC/APNU/AFC is clearly desperate and prepared to wreak havoc. GECOM should urge citizens to cast their ballots and return peacefully to their normal routine.

Ravi Ram