Free and fair elections must be free and fair

Dear Editor,
Let me 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 which we share relationships.
Following the successful December 2018 bid, no confidence, the PNC along with employees at the Guyana Election Commission (GECOM) did everything to avoid going to the polls. A herculean task was indeed to get the APNU + AFC Government to dissolve Parliament and announce the date of elections. 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, which recently occurred in the United States of America. The strongest condemnation is deserved from the prospects of things, and so you are welcome to see the strong words of principle emanating from our Attorney General, given Guyana’s experience at home.
As a world leader and subsequently many countries have patterned their standards and political base, one must be flamed to observe domestic terrorism of this nature. An American coup attempt has not taken place in over 200 years and there is some certainty that the fastest and coordinated action will be taken against those involved to ensure it never happens again. Clearly, America’s internal verification system stands strongly against the rebellious behavior, unlike the outdated Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), which has had to completely overhaul.

Against the backdrop of decades of undercover business by officials involved in GECOM, this time, among others took the sacrifices of many freedom fighters prepared to face injury and death as they vigilantly defend the votes of the nations . Those who managed at the GECOM Secretariat level openly demonstrated that they had no problems in throwing away the decency and transparency that should have been the central pillar of the constitutional organization.
Instead, they openly displayed a status quo that ensured Guyana maintained the unimaginably terrible 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, mysteriously, a fake spreadsheet was introduced to replace the legally informative method of using the Voting Statements in the verification process. PPP / C was possibly unconsciously caught napping and searching for recounts that were rejected because GECOM staff were suddenly unavailable. Worst of all is that the CEO of the GECOM Secretariat, Mr Keith Lowenfield had told the commission that there were ‘False Vote Statements’ and that he would not be able to declare the results of the elections.

Also to note, former GECOM chairman Dr Steve Surujbally said the ‘False Statements of polls’ were not used in tabling the marginal victory given to PNC-led APNU + AFC rival party. The obvious question is where did those fake Votes come from?
GECOM made no statement on the divisions affected by these bogus Voting Statements and the CEO did not think it was relevant for voters to want to know if their votes were being counted and why? The introduction of the spreadsheet to replace the Voting Statements caused a large furnace, after which the Returning Officer Melanie Marshall suspended the count process with the promise that it will continue shortly after ongoing 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. This of course could never be considered Free or Fair with the possibility that the election petition would be of non-standard value. He never saw the light of day.

Guyanese are now asking if they ever were 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 were allowed to override 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 believe that the PNC was fully aware of the fact that they could never win free and fair elections in Guyana and were hell bent on eliminating all elections. The polluted measures and myopic lens must not be further accommodated by the PNC to visualize these important issues. We require systems now to be implemented that will deliver Free, Fair and Acceptable Election Results.

Yours faithfully,
Neil Kumar