Elections will come and go on Monday. After the elections, there will be a winner and a loser. The winner will be elated. The loser will be deflated. But that is the system under which a government is chosen, and the faster people begin to accept, the better their life is going to be.
I do not plan to lose any sleep over the elections. Whoever wins, I still lose. Exxon and her partners have picked up my fifteen million dollars which was left at the negotiating table.
At my age, I can do a lot of things with fifteen million dollars. And with Big Aunty also entitled to her fifteen million dollars too, it means in my family alone, some 30 million Guyana dollars is due to us. The children and grandchildren are grown and they can fend for their own share.
A lot of people have worked hard and expect their party to win. But it does appear more likely than ever now that there will only be one winner and the other side will have to be content with heartbreak. That is the winner-take-all system of democracy, and it is something which everyone has to live with.
People are going to be stocking up on food today. Most will seclude themselves in their homes until the day after the results of the elections are announced, which would probably be four or five days after the elections.
I am asking the rich people to have some consideration for the poor people and not empty the supermarkets tomorrow. Life will go on after the elections, and there is no use in hoarding foodstuff, because when that happens it is poor people, who cannot afford to stock up their shelves, who will suffer.
Guyanese have to place their trust in the honesty of the polling day officials. These people have been doing a good job since 1992, and they should be allowed to continue. The polling stations officials saved the day in 2015 and 2011. These polling officials and clerks and scrutineers, ensured that things went smoothly and thus avoided controversy with the results. There were checks and balances, oversight and penalties if regulations were not adhered to. These allowed for things to run smoothly and the easy transmission of results.
The source of the problems which the country experience after elections has nothing to do with the competence of the polling day officials, but rather, with the political parties whose leaders do not wish to concede defeat.
All eyes will be on Guyana from Monday. The international community is keen for there to be stability, because they know the effects of instability on investments, and countries like the USA, Russia, Canada and the United Kingdom have huge investments in Guyana. They want to protect these investments.
Many people believe that whatever the western countries want will happen. But this is a mistaken view. What the western countries want is democracy, since this is the only guarantee they have that their investments will be safe. As such, they have been signaling a long time now that they want credible elections, and for the results to be respected.
The Americans, the Canadians, the British and the European Union want the will of the people to be respected, and they will lean heavily on the parties to ensure this happens.
The United Nations normally does not get involved in issuing statements about elections, but this year has been exception.
The United Nations Resident Representative in Guyana has been quoted as saying that: “The dignified acceptance of the results by political parties will help to build confidence and trust in state institutions and create a foundation for cooperation beyond the election.” She said that the United Nations is willing to support peaceful elections.
Life has to go on after the elections. Whoever wins will not change whether the average man has to work or not. And so it is important that life goes on, so that people can earn their daily bread and daydream about Exxon repaying that US$55B which was left on the negotiating table.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper)
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