Dear Editor,
Let us not rejoice over the attack on Capitol Hill on Wednesday (1/6/21) because the foundation of democracy had been overrun by a crowd prompted by a sitting President, who was supposed to be the Leader of the free world! The “rebellion” erupted like a volcano while Congressional Representatives, Senators and staff ran for shelter, as terrorists scaled the building with reckless abandonment and destroyed property in their path, one of them relentlessly taking a seat the Speaker. It took several hours to control the situation.
The temporary reign of anarchy has been rightly condemned by all those who love freedom and adherents of democracy, including the great leaders of the world, who have been calling for a peaceful transformation of power, something the United States has distinguished himself about it. America has had the worst challenges in the past (like 9/11) and has been able to bounce back with courage. The Biden administration is expected to rise quickly to the occasion and restore the lost glory of the country.
The attack on the impenetrable symbol of democracy, Capitol Hill, made Congress incapacitated for only a few hours. Members and their staff returned to their chambers to carry on the business of the people when they certified the election of Joe Biden as President-elect and Kamala Harris as Vice President-elect.
Guyanese have been watching the situation very carefully and some have been quick to criticize America for duplicating their stance on elections and democracy. For example, they blame America for the role they played in the 2020 Guyana elections. They even claim that their party (PNCR) has been brought out of power because of American intervention. They wrongly believe that with the Democratic party coming to power in the US, they may have a good chance of overturning the 2020 election results.
They believe that history could be on their side. When Proportional Representation (PR) was forced to remove the PPP from power in 1964, it was led by the US Democratic administration; but it was during the Republican administration that democracy was restored in Guyana in 1992. A few decades later, when the PPPC lost power in the 2015 elections to the PNCR + AFC, it was the Democratic administration in power. US payments D’Affaires Bryan Hunt played a significant role in shaping the election results in favor of the PNCR. It was good then for America to support the PNCR + AFC to hold political power in 2015, but it was not good for America to play a role, as did other nations (UK, Canada, EU, OAS, CARICOM, the Commonwealth) in ensuring the integrity of Guyana’s 2020 elections process!
Nevertheless, the most interesting thing about Capitol Hill storms is the striking similarities in position and values ​​that emerge between President Donald Trump and President David Granger. Due to space constraints, I will tabulate these.
(i) Trump and Granger have launched a brutal attack on democracy. They have further polarized their societies. (ii) Both men have challenged the election results in courts. (iii) Trump and Granger were denied World leaders for their gymnastics after the election. (iv) Trump and Granger have strong authoritarian credentials that have a tendency to break the constitution and rule the law.
(v) Both men have undermined their country’s international relations. Trump America left WHO and the Paris Climate Agreement, while Granger alienated the entire international community with the charade of his election. (vi) Trump will not attend the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Similarly, Granger did not attend the inauguration of President Irfaan Ali. (vii) Trump and Granger have been distorting reality by pedaling a bout of lies to their supporters. (viii) Despite losing, Trump and Granger have claimed victory. (ix) Trump took no action to stop the attack on Capitol Hill, and Granger took no action to prevent social unrest at the Ashmin Building in Georgetown as well as in WCB chaos. (x) Neither Trump nor Granger could cause the democratic base to fail.
The main differences are reflected in the application of political principles. (I) Trump has lost many of his supporters, allies and top aides, who spoke eloquently against his lies, encouragement and violence. With Granger, all his supporters and allies, except Dominic Gaskin, remained silent and refused to condemn electoral rigging or violence. (ii) In Trump America, the election results were announced by independent bodies. In Granger Guyana, election results, as captured in SOPs (Polls Statements), have never been published by the PNCR or the so-called independent GECOM.
(iii) In America, Trump has no power to control the electoral machinery. In Guyana, Granger had control through his unilateral appointment of Chairman of Gecom. In confusion, Granger’s party is defending Gecom staff in Court on election fraud charges. (iv) Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, will be set on the constitutional due date of January 20, 2020, while Guyana’s new President, Dr Irfaan Ali, is set on 8/2/2020, 5 months at by the constitutional due date.
Donald Trump and David Granger have many things in common. Are they on the same journey? Are the similarities of the two men characteristic of authoritarian leaders who regard power as an end in itself?

Dr. Tara Singh

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