On Sunday February 9, 2020 the PPP held a rally at Stewartville on the West Coast of Demerara. Mr. Jagdeo, while addressing his party’s supporters at that rally, used a portion of his time on stage to question the competence, readiness and fairness of GECOM. One of his many spurious assertions, which I find to be most alarming is this comment; “Whenever I walk around this country, wherever I go, people say to me, ‘we know the PPP will win the elections if the elections are free and fair’. But will they be free and fair? This is a pressing concern among many Guyanese,” Jagdeo went on to state … “That fear you have is justified but don’t think that we are taking it lightly.”
The message and signals encapsulated in these specific words should be enough to ring alarm bells in the minds of GECOM, APNU/AFC and every right-thinking Guyanese. Words matter, more so the words of leaders and those who purport to be leaders, matter!
Allow me to state exactly what concerns me about these words uttered by Mr. Jagdeo’s. Firstly, since the 23 years of the PPP rule in Guyana I have never seen Mr. Jagdeo or the PPP so obsessed with GECOM. Why are they so obsessed with GECOM and its Chair? When the PPP was in power they appointed GECOM chairs at different periods. They appointed Doodnauth Singh, Joe Singh and Steve Surujbally. So, why do they now have a problem with Claudette Singh, an experienced and credible professional? I have never heard Jagdeo or the PPP challenge or express any kind of open attack against the men whom they appointed to chair GECOM. Are they obsessed with Justice Claudette Singh because they did not appoint! Let’s not forget that the PPP found her to be a credible and fit nominee, and Mr. Jagdeo consented to her appointment, so why the inexorable attack? Justice Claudette Singh happens to be the first woman elected to chair this most crucial office, and mere weeks after she was sworn in Mr. Jagdeo and the PPP have unleashed a barrage of attacks on her. These attacks are targeted at her competence and integrity. However, Justice Claudette Singh has demonstrated that she can withstand the PPP’s attack. For centuries women were presumed to be unfit for challenging or deeply complex jobs and so they were deliberately exempted or considered for certain positions. It was refreshing when President Granger nominated and appointed Justice Claudette Singh SC, CCH to the post of Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). Justice Singh’s appointment was celebrated by all in Guyana, especially women. The PPP must know that their campaign to discredit her is also a turn off to women and sends the wrong message to women and girls in Guyana.
With the just concluded Joint Services Voting process conducted by GECOM Justice Claudette Singh has demonstrated that she is more than capable of effectively executing her responsibilities.
Jagdeo’s comments seem to represent a most severe form of bullying. This kind of open intimidation must be rejected by any sane person. I hope the note takers from the Carter Center and other observer missions are taking copious notes.
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