Home Letters With 900M people, India prepared for an election in 3 months
How can India prepare for an election in 30 days for 900 million people to vote and Guyana cannot prepare for an election with 0.06 per cent of that amount (500,000 people) in 90 days? It defies all logic.
All this voting will be handled by the Elections Commission of India, an independent institution that guards and maintains its reputation for efficiency, toughness and rectitude.
They have a system of three Commissioners who are all retired public service officers and do not draw a salary from anywhere else but their version of GECOM. By India standards, they are paid a handsome salary averaging around US$3500 per month.
If we are to reflect on the current GECOM we have, every one of them is aligned to another salary pool which to some extent makes servants to dual masters. Thus, they can never be efficient and effective at delivering at the task at hand. Let us reflect on some of the Commissioners – Desmond Trotman works out of the Presidency Ministry as a senior officer of the State Assets Recovery Unit (SARA). Vincent Alexander is an adviser to the Public Service Minister in the Presidency Ministry. Bibi Shaddick serves in several positions on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition. Can any of these people be independent thinkers?
Worse yet, the Chairman was unilaterally appointed by Granger, and thus he owes everything to Granger. Can he act independently of Granger? This is the tragedy of GECOM, it can never be like the Elections Commission of India and thus it will never be successful since it was conceived with a corrupt mentality and as a collective, it is an extremely compromised body.
That is why it is imperative that one of the main changes to the Constitution must be the reform of GECOM to be manned by persons totally and fully retired from public life. Think of people like Dr Gladstone Mitchell, Prem Persaud, Egbert Carter, Joe Singh, Ret’d Brigadier Mark Phillips and Cecil Kennard. These are the kind of people who are no longer in public life but who should be allowed to serve at GECOM. These people hold no allegiance to any side but the Guyanese side.
But why 7? India, a nation of 900 million, voters has 3 Commissioners, while Guyana with half of a million has 7 Commissioners. Do we have money to waste behind these useless people to do a useless job?
Because that is all we have been hearing from Bibi Shaddick and Vincent Alexander – useless chatter. These people have no allegiance to the Guyanese people but to themselves and their respective political masters and that makes them uncreditworthy in the eyes of the people.
Why does GECOM need seven people to make decisions, why not three as they have in India? Why should the PPP or the PNC or for that matter, any political party sit in the boardroom of GECOM? Do you see where I am going with this? When you have people who do not care who wins and who loses, people who focus on the idea that the Guyanese people get the best elections, then you will never find yourself in a situation where 10 of the top 10 positions in the GECOM’s operational leadership are but an extension of Congress Place.
Think carefully as to why Vishnu Persaud, an extremely competent election expert had to be pushed aside to make way for someone who is still learning the job and continues to illustrate every day how grossly unfit and unsuitable she is for the role.
So to the Guyanese people, GECOM today is not on your side, this is an organisation that is but an arm of Congress Place and the PPP when in power should have moved mountains to make GECOM more resilient to political interference.
They failed at this task and the people today have to pay for that political oversight on the part of the PPP.
History has taught us that the PNC will never play fair because they can never win elections on their own because of their narrow-minded ethnic culture that discriminates against those who are not the kith and kin of their leader.
This is Guyana’s cross to bear today, a PNC dominated GECOM, both in the boardroom and in the operation rooms because the PPP, when in power, did nothing to bring greater balance to GECOM. Who feels the pain today knows the pain – the people? Wither Guyana.