Parliamentary and constitutional democracy is on trial in Guyana. APNU/AFC is purposefully sabotaging and subverting the Constitution. Never has the time been more important for all good men and good women, for all citizens, to stand up for their country. In accordance with the parliamentary no-confidence resolution and the Constitution of Guyana, the APNU/AFC Government must resign, dissolve Parliament and schedule General and Regional Elections within 90 days of December 21, 2018. This means elections are due on/or before March 21, 2019. Instead, APNU/AFC is engaged in a desperate scheme to sidestep the Constitution. This desperate ploy to run from the law is futile because they can run, but they cannot escape the law. The Guyanese saying is “moon can run till daytime ketch um”.
The desperation of APNU/AFC’s futile attempt to run from the law is captured by the absurdity of the excuses. Clearly, they are trying to buy time. First, they accused MP Charrandas, one of their own MPs who voted for the no-confidence motion on December 21, 2018, of taking a bribe. They claimed they have evidence of a rich Trinidadian oil tycoon handing over multi-million US dollars to Charrandas in a hotel room, but they adamantly refused to present that evidence. Mr Charrandas has responded by agreeing to a lie-detector test. None of the APNU/AFC members who made the claim has come forward to present the evidence more than three weeks after and none of them has the guts to accept Mr Charrandas’s challenge of a lie-detector test.
Aubrey Norton was hurriedly brought out of obscurity to claim that he and the PNC have evidence that Bharrat Jagdeo was involved in the bribery of Charrandas. He too has refused to present such evidence to the Police. Bharrat Jagdeo has threatened to sue him unless he apologises. Clearly, no reasonable Guyanese believe these absurd stories. But, the Police Commissioner has confirmed that based on these concoctions, he is forced to dedicate investigative time to follow these allegations. In the meanwhile, criminal gangs are terrorising people everywhere in Guyana and the Police, while involved in spurious investigations, do not seem to have enough time to respond to real crimes that are causing loss of lives and property.
Meanwhile, the Chief Justice has begun to address a legal challenge of Charrandas’s vote on December 21, 2018, because Basil Williams on behalf of APNU/AFC arranged to have a private citizen challenge the vote based on Charrandas’s dual citizen status. Taxpayers’ money is being used for a private citizen to challenge Williams and the Speaker, neither of whom will contest the challenge. Even after an unreasonable delay in hearing this matter, the AG wants more time because he was not ready to present his arguments yesterday. Now there are more delays. Never mind that whatever the decision, it has no effect on the December 21 event. Then there is the ridiculous challenge that 33 cannot be the majority of 65. The court must dismiss these reckless and deliberate efforts to subvert the law, the Constitution and our democracy. The truth is this government has no desire to challenge dual-citizenship. It simply wants to buy time.
Political and constitutional commentators, those people who were so vocal before May 2015, are on trial. Their time to stand up and speak out is now. Some have timidly called on the Government to honour the no-confidence resolution and hold elections in accordance with the constitutional timeline. One of those commentators has stood out – Mr Christopher Ram has shown willingness to go beyond a gentle condemnation of the Government. Mr Ram has approached the court to obtain a declaration to force the government to honour the parliamentary resolution. The law of the land must be obeyed and the Government must not be given a pass. Others, like Ralph Ramkarran, must do the same. The ABC countries and Caricom are also on trial. Fools rise because wise people remain silent.
The events of December 21, 2018 and since then demand aggressively calling out APNU/AFC on their reckless attempt to subvert the Constitution. There can be no plainer demonstration that APNU/AFC is rigging the law and Guyana’s democracy. Standing on the sideline or flirting with silence is not an option. Either we stand with the Guyanese people in their brave struggle to sustain and build a democratic society or we allow APNU/AFC to rig Guyana’s democracy. Too many people in Guyana, the ABC countries and Caricom chose silence as a 28-year dictatorship and rigged elections allowed Guyana to under-develop and become a basket-case in Caricom between 1968 and 1992. Let us not allow history to repeat itself.