By Leonard Gildarie
Well, the hour is upon us.
Most persons can pinpoint that one moment when things changed dramatically, for the better or worse, in their lives. Today or tomorrow will not be a day for us to bandy out nice words to a population that needs guidance. There are decisions to be made and level heads must prevail. If we have to be harsh demanding our future, so be it.
Within hours, Guyana is heading to the polls. It will choose a government that will lead us for the next five years. The performance of that government, with the proceeds of the oil money, can very well cement it as a fixture, because it will be an opportunity to shine.
The parties, Guyanese and other stakeholders, understand all too well what is at stake here. A grateful Guyana, starved for performance from an administration that puts country first, will reciprocate.
As we speak, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is racing to ensure all is ready when the doors open tomorrow morning at the 2,300-plus polling stations across the country.
There are hundreds of overseas observers, the largest by far for elections in Guyana.
The European Union is fielding the largest number, I am told, with the Commonwealth, CARICOM, Organisation of American States (OAS), and Carter Center, all here also.
A number of former foreign heads of states are here and elections experts from India and Africa have been lending assistance to GECOM in the weeks leading up to the elections.
We all know that events that led us to this juncture stem from the December 21, 2018, no-confidence vote tabled by the Opposition. It was passed after a Government parliamentarian sided with the Opposition and gave his vote in favour.
Since then, Guyana has waited in bated breath.
The international community was naturally very nervous. For the US especially, the political situation involving the courts and growing tensions could not continue, especially with oil production starting.
Well, it started last December, and Guyana can describe itself as a petro-state now.
Canada, Britain and the European Union, too, have expressed concern over the local climate.
I have been watching the political game closely in the last few months. I deeply regret the missed opportunities to really pay attention to what matters…our revenues.
I said it before and will say it again. The political parties that have been around and the ones that have now surfaced will have to understand their roles. They have chosen a path of service to the people. Yes, it is service. It is not about being in power.
The most important mandate is to ensure the people of this country are better off.
The path to that will have to be solid policies that will ensure not only the best of deals when it comes to our resources, but also a better life for our people.
We need more roads, better security, a bigger safety net for our senior citizens, and a prudent management of our economy. We will have to understand that the resources…oil, gold, diamond, bauxite, forestry, among others, are our wealth.
As a people, we have shown that we can compete in a good-natured manner in a political playing field and go back the next day to our respective businesses.
It is how we should be.
Can this little country, which has 80 percent of its land mass covered by vegetation, and one of the largest oil finds in years, prove that we can become the place to be?
I saw several stunning photos by attorney-at-law Nigel Hughes taken a few days ago in Region 7. I think that the majority of Guyana did not know there was an Uchi Falls found in that region, which happens to be one of the most beautiful I have seen to date. We can boast of a few things.
As we head tomorrow to the polls, let’s take the day to tell the world that we are a mature people. We are not ones that put race above all else. We will not continue along the pathway that has characterised us from the 60s.
We want a new Demerara Harbour Bridge. We want courts that have speedy trials.
We want hospitals that are state-of-the-art. We want a modernised police force, where ranks can arrive within minutes or use technologies in their vehicles to identify a person who is wanted.
So tomorrow, it is a time to show the power we have with our ‘X’ and choose a government that we are assured will deliver. It is that time.
As we speak, the situation with GECOM will continue to reverberate for years to come.
GECOM has been given billions and is an entity charged with managing elections in Guyana. The imbroglio over GECOM’s readiness should not be tolerated. There is too much interference.
The commissioners should not only be politicians representing the two main parties.
They do not speak for all Guyana. What about the private sector or the religious bodies or the civic groups?
The new government in place, whether it is the Coalition or the PPP/C, or whichever, will have to make electoral reforms a major item on the agenda. All Guyana hurt because of the games being played.
We have a mandate…nay, we have a crucial responsibility to all Guyana to make the decision that will send a clear message to all politicians: we are the ones in charge.
The days after the elections will be crucial as we await the final announcement.
By law, I am told, it can take up to 15 days. We should not pay heed to any incendiary urgings. As a people, we will have to accept the results, wherever it goes. You know what has to be done!
(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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