The People’s National Congress (PNC) between 1964 and 1992 plundered Guyana during a brutal dictatorship. Even after more than two decades of democracy and economic growth, Guyana today is unable to catch up, still socially and economically far behind other Caribbean Community nations. In May 2015, some people thought it had been long enough and the PNC deserved a second chance. In a forgiving mood, enough people voted to allow the PNC, disguised as the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC), to return to power. In less than two years, the PNC has lifted its veil, shed the disguise, essentially declaring that APNU/AFC is just a name. Those who continue to indulge in the false illusion that APNU/AFC would preserve the freedom and democracy that we have nurtured as a nation since 1992 must seriously re-examine this misguided notion.
President David Granger’s decision to reject all six nominees of the Leader of the Opposition for Chairmanship of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is hypocritical, reckless and Executive lawlessness. Granger ignored the law, considered only one part that conveniently allows him to re-impose the brutal PNC-dictatorship of the 1968-1992 era. The decision is the most explicit signal that the PNC in the form of APNU/AFC intends to transform GECOM into the puppet-style Elections Commission of the period between 1968 and 1992. Granger wants the new GECOM Chair to be a puppet, just as Harry Bollers was before 1992.
Transforming GECOM into a puppet, democracy-busting arm of the PNC is shocking, but not unexpected. We had warned people that the APNU/AFC coalition is nothing but a re-enactment of the old PNC/United Force (UF) coalition and that as soon as it is convenient, the PNC would abandon the AFC, just as they did the UF after 1968. Granger has masterfully exploited the burning ambition of Nagamootoo and Ramjattan. Unless these gentlemen and others from the AFC are willing to be subsumed into the PNC, their days are numbered. The same can be said of Rupert Roopnaraine and the Working People’s Alliance (WPA).
From day one, Granger showed his hand when he decided to have a Minister of Citizenship. Through his role as Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix is expected to manipulate the electoral list to favour the PNC in the next and future elections. The plan was designed long before the 2015 elections, but they needed to get into government first. The coalition agreement with AFC, Nagamootoo and Ramjattan was necessary and they promised them the moon, knowing that after the election they would take control. The PNC had already trapped the WPA by then. They have now taken full control.
The unequivocal move to seize control of GECOM is only the latest signal of a rapidly expanding strategy to impose dictatorship in Guyana. In the 20 months since assuming the seat of Government, APNU/AFC (the PNC in disguise) has openly exposed its dictatorial DNA. Outside of the electoral machinery, it has ensured the militarisation of our country. Past and present military personnel have been placed in all Ministries. They are everywhere in the Office of the President and in the Ministry of the Presidency, serving in important jobs and as Presidential advisors. It would be hard to find any Ministry or any Government agency without at least one military personnel close to Granger and the PNC. Guyana Defence Force (GDF) personnel are even used to spy on people, just like they did with Rodney. The People’s Militia has been re-established and November 1 is now to be observed as Guyana Defence Force Day. There is no Teacher’s Day, Doctor’s Day, Nurse’s Day, Police Day, Farmer’s Day, etc. But there is a soldier’s day.
The President and his Cabinet have interfered with all the democratic institutions protected by the Constitution. The offices of the Auditor General, the Director of Public Prosecutions, service commissions, State Boards have all been threatened and interfered with, in less than two years. People are removed and others are installed in jobs, without the necessary rules being adhered to. Contracts are given without tenders. The Parliament has been reduced to a charade, with the Opposition being stymied. The Speaker has become a Chief Bully for the PNC, limiting debates and suffocating Opposition MPs from doing their jobs. Together, the Speaker and APNU/AFC have ensured that the Parliament becomes a convenient instrument to raise taxes and limit democracy and freedom. Arrogance and disrespect are evident daily.
Guyana’s democracy has become very ill in the last several months. In the last week, Guyana’s democracy is in death’s throes. Good people cannot remain silent. The signs are everywhere that Granger has masterfully led the PNC back into the chambers of power and this time they will ensure that they brutally keep freedom-loving people far away, no matter what means are used. I beg my sisters and brothers to be wary and take heed. Too late, too late will be the cry. Awake my sisters and brothers. Freedom is at stake.