Fair, free elections must be crystal clear and unconditional in democratic societies – Guyana Times
HomeLettersFair, free elections must be absolutely clear and unconditional in democratic societies
Dear Editor, Please allow me to emphasize that the meaning of “free and fair elections” must be crystal clear and unconditional in a democratic society. The Guyana Constitution is based on this framework. The apathy with this organization, therefore, has undermined the accepted, respectful principles on which our nation is built, and with whom we share relationships. Following the successful passing of the December 2018 No Confidence Motion, the PNC, along with activists at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), did everything to avoid going to the polls. The Herculean task was indeed to get the APNU / AFC Government to dissolve Parliament and announce the Election date. After the Elections on March 02, 2020, the nation had to endure five months of frustration as the PNC and GECOM riggers desperately tried to avoid the inevitable in an apparent move to stifle our nation’s democratic right, realizing a position of total international rejection. Without a doubt, the recent turbulent attacks on democracy at home and in many places around the world dictate the need to strengthen policies and actions to prevent all undesirable threats. We watched in awe the explosion of some of the most horrific and abominable challenges to democratic electoral principles that have occurred in the United States of America recently. The strongest condemnation is deserving of the prospects of things, and so it is welcome to see the strong words of principle emanating from our Attorney General, given Guyana’s experience at home. As a world leader, after which many countries have patterned their standards and political base, one must be flamed to observe domestic terrorism of this nature. There has been no “coup” attempt in America for over 200 years, and there is some certainty that the fastest and most condign action would be taken against those involved, to ensure that it never happens again. Clearly, America’s internal verification system stands strongly against the rebellious behavior, unlike the one that was removed, which weakened a Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), which must now face an almost complete overhaul completely. Against the backdrop of decades of undercover business by officials involved with GECOM, this time it took, among other things, the sacrifice of many freedom fighters prepared to face injury and death as they defended the nation’s cast votes in vigilant. Those who managed at the level of the GECOM Secretariat openly demonstrated that they had no problem throwing out decency and transparency that should have been the central pillar of that constitutional organization. Instead, they openly displayed a status quo that ensured Guyana maintained the appalling, unpleasant stigma of ‘Impossible Elections’, of which Guyanese people are fully aware is the goal of PNC architecture and planning. We can no longer move forward in this setting of false pretense and trumpet protection. In 2015, the PNC riggers secretly introduced the fake spreadsheet instead of following the legally informative approach to using the voting statements in the verification process. PPPC may have been unknowingly caught napping and in search of recounts rejected because GECOM staff were suddenly unavailable. Worst of all is that GECOM’s Chief Returning Officer, Mr Keith Lowenfield, told the Commission meeting that there were ‘false voting statements’, and that he would not be able to declare the election results. Also to note, former GECOM Chairman, Dr. Steve Surujbally, that the ‘false voting statements’ were not used in tabulating the marginal victory given to PNC-led APNU / AFC rival party. It meant that the votes were not counted in 32 electoral divisions, and the election petition filed to address the humorous anomalies cannot be heard to this day. The obvious question is: Where did those fake voting statements originate? GECOM made no statement on the divisions affected by these bogus voting statements, and the CEO did not consider it relevant for voters to know if their votes were being counted and why? The introduction of the spreadsheet to replace the furnace voting statements caused a major furore, after which the Returning Officer Melanie Marshall suspended the count process with the promise that it would continue soon, after persistent objections. The continuation of the validation process never saw the light of day, as GECOM suddenly declared that there were enough votes in favor of the Opposition to announce a result. With a whole process largely damaged with the help of the clandestine operations of GECOM operators, the APNU / AFC was held in office. This, of course, could never be considered free or fair, with the possibility that the election petition would turn out to be of non-standard value. He never saw the light of day. Guyanese are now asking if there have ever been any false voting statements, and these issues must be cleared up. The officials at GECOM are overwhelmed with overwhelming uncertainty, which does not add well to the administration of processes representing the nation. What we have is a conundrum, where people in the GECOM system have been allowed to overcome their expected responsibilities and then allowed space and latitude to clean up the evidence against their dirty work. The above is neither acceptable nor fair, and the Commission needs to take the strongest steps in eradicating the filth. Citizens think that the PNC is fully aware of the fact that they can never win a free and fair election in Guyana, and were bending hell in derailing all elections. The polluted measures and myopic lenses of the PNC must not be further accommodated to visualize these important issues. We demand that systems are put in place immediately that ensure free, fair and acceptable election results.