By Leonard Gildarie
I am not sure what to write. At this time, a teenager is dead after reportedly being shot by police in West Berbice protests. Right in Region 5, a school bus was pelted and students injured. Videos surfacing indicated shockingly that medical personnel in Region 5 were reluctant and abusive in relation to treating the injured.
There were scenes of police ranks being stoned and reports of looting in Rosignol.
At Lusignan, police and Opposition-aligned supporters, angered by the developments at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), clashed with tear gas and blocked roads characterizing a shocking Friday.
Today, Guyana is crying, and I am profoundly conflicted and pained at the deep divisions that have rendered our country to a standstill.
Rice millers have reportedly halted shipments out of Guyana for fear of what is happening. Giftland Mall is threatening closure if the rule of law is not adhered to and a gated community developer has delayed his project pending the outcome of the political situation.
In the city, stores are closed and at least one bank has boarded its windows in anticipation of possible mob invasion.
At the time of writing, lawyers for the Coalition are in the High Court, battling to have the judge dismiss injunctions granted last week to halt any announcements for Region 4, which will pave the way for a president to be sworn in.
Perhaps, the hardest thing for me is to know our politicians are safely ensconced while on the frontlines are decent Guyanese.
We have the right to protest. However, there are several things happening here.
It will be recalled that we headed to the polls and voting went relatively smoothly Monday. The international and local observers are the ones who said so. However, it went all downhill after. Both the Coalition and the Opposition claimed victory.
It will be remiss of me not slam both sides for their premature posture that raised the tension temperature to alarming levels.
Can we blame the supporters of the Coalition who camped out in front of the GECOM’s operations centre on High and Hadfield Streets? They were told that the Coalition won.
Can we blame the protestors, largely Opposition persons, for blocking the roads? They were told that their party won.
I saw scenes of the Opposition and others storming past police ranks and attempting to enter the office of the Chair of the GECOM, Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh.
There was controversy over the “announcement” of the results of Region 4 by Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo. It was deemed a deviation from established procedures of verifying the statement of polls with party officials and observers.
However, lawyers for the Coalition are arguing that Mingo is only obligated to ascertaining the numbers and announcing, a claim that is hotly contested by the Opposition.
As of today, at the time of writing, 112 hours (more than four days or nights) have passed since the voting. The country is heavily polarized. Accusations are flying back and forth and we have wasted millions. It is clear as day that the people of Guyana have been played.
Billions of dollars have been given to GECOM to manage an election. Reporters were called in preparation and told to apply for accreditation. They were told that a special place was prepared at the GECOM centre and they would be briefed.
Since Tuesday, GECOM has not briefed reporters.
In fact, the reporters were not allowed in since Tuesday. They were camped out in front.
On Friday, barriers were erected, and reporters and politicians pushed behind.
I am not here to tell you that the Coalition won or the Opposition won. I am here to tell you the people of Guyana are being held hostage.
I will stop here. I just cannot think anymore.
(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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