The CoI must put an end to rigging! peace and development must unite Guyana!

Dear Editor,
Another significant promise is on track for fulfillment by President Irfaan Ali and the PPPC. It assures the Government’s facilitation of the conduct of a justified and necessary Electoral Commission of Inquiry (CoI) by an esteemed team of qualified international professionals. The announced CoI will serve to interrogate the flagrant abuse of authority and the resulting damning events associated with the attempts to rig the results of the March 2020 elections. However, the results must be a revelation of the truth, thereby providing a basis for the successful uniting of our people locally and internationally, whose bold endeavours saved this country.
Electoral malpractices have for decades plagued the democratic fortification of this country, and the bubble finally burst. A first of its kind to be held nationally, this presidential CoI concerning Elections’ misconduct elicits a disquieting atmosphere, and certainly ruffles some who have sought to lay condemnatory critiques to undermine the suspected outcome. But it is not as if the masses at home and overseas are not aware of the blatant, barefaced breaches of almost every rule to steal power. What is most feared is that those involved, who have managed to shield themselves so far, could now be exposed.
It is recalled that, in August 2021, His Excellency reaffirmed his administration’s aim to establish a CoI, and also outlined that it would be an international one to independently investigate what occurred and where the weaknesses in Guyana’s electoral systems exist. At the time, public reaction supported the approach, stipulating that the international approach will remove bias and ensure transparency. Since the recent announcement by His Excellency President Ali, there have been a few mumbles seeking to be critically rejective of the mechanism and the provided scope of the CoI. In a Village Voice article captioned ‘Participating in the CoI would be supporting a charade,’ Jeffrey et al have attempted to apply the proverbial pulling of cloth over the eyes of the unsuspecting observer.
Editor, the likes of Jeffrey et al cannot usurp the authority of the President or the Commission in their convenient advocacy. Please permit me to contextually highlight a few central pillars informing the legal authority and approach of a CoI in Guyana, from which APNU/AFC representatives, Jeffrey et al try to deflect. Notwithstanding that these fly-by-night commentators should read the act, Section 2 of the Commission of Inquiries Act Cap.19.03 states:
(1) “The President may issue a commission appointing one or more commissioners and authorizing such commissioner or commissioners to inquire into any matter in which an inquiry would, in the opinion of the President, be for the public welfare.
(2) Every such Commission shall specify the subject, nature, and extent of the inquiry, and may contain directions in the following matters:
a) in what manner the Commission shall be executed;
b) if there be more Commissioners than one, which of them shall act as chairman;
c) what number of them shall constitute a quorum;
d) the place and time where and within which the inquiry shall be made and the report thereof rendered;
e) whether or not the inquiry shall be held in public, with reservation nevertheless to the Commissioners to exclude any person or persons if they deem fit for the due conduct of the inquiry, the preservation of order, or for any other reason;
f) and generally, for the better giving effect to the purpose of the inquiry.”
Also, Section 10 states: “Commissioners acting under this Act shall have the powers of a judge of the High Court to summon witnesses, to call for the production of books, plans, and documents, and to examine witnesses and parties concerned on oath… All summonses for the attendance of witnesses or other persons, or the production of documents, may be in the form given in the Schedule, and shall be signed by one of the commissioners, and oaths may be administered by one of the commissioners, or by the secretary.”
It is of note that our citizens have endured decades of ‘rigging’, and it was only with the foreign intervention of the ‘God blessed Carter Center’ in 1990, and again the International Observers in 2020, that a sense of democratic normalcy was imbued against the most egregious threats. The CoI therefore must be comprehensive, it must investigate fully pre- and post-electoral dirty and willful attempts to derail and rig the National and Regional Elections.
The events that unfolded from the passing of the No-Confidence motion, the numerous challenges in the Courts, and all that took place with Granger’s self-imposed Patterson as Chairman of the Guyana Election Commission, contributed to the PNC completely taking control of the hiring of all staff members at GECOM, and particularly, the GECOM Human Resource Manager was unwilling to give the information of the staffing at GECOM to the Integrity Commission.
The complete control of hiring, firing, purchasing, renting and all the other skullduggery that took place must be fully investigated.
In addition, the performance (circus) that took place at both the GECOM/Commission and GECOM/Secretariat must be fully examined. The lack of audits at GECOM surely serves as a beacon for improprieties, and such an important agency must be above board. The reviews and the reports of the GECOM Secretariat must be fully prepared, submitted to, and discussed by the Commission, but this variant position has been an indictment for years.
There were no reviews in the 2015 General and Regional Elections, or 2016, and 2018 Local Government Elections. Worse is that the shenanigans that are before the courts and the others who are still in the employ deliberately made a clean sweep of all the records, and GECOM is unable so far to have a review of the 2020 Elections. The Police should and must be called in to investigate the culprits who swept the data from the computers.
President Irfaan Alli naming and appointing eminent men on the International Commission of Inquiry is most welcome, and all of Guyana is supporting and awaiting the full report after the CoI. This CoI must fully expose the riggers, and we must see an end to the rigging of Elections in Guyana. Our people will then be able to appreciate Good Governance, and the country will be united for all to live in progressive peace and harmony.

Neil Kumar