This analysis traces the origin of the plan by the PNC to rely on GECOM to see it through the travails of the 2020 national elections. The reasons will be outlined below.
A newspaper column will do serious intellectual butchery to the analysis. Either an elongated version of this paper will be done in some other forum or other aspects will be contained in future pieces of mine. For now, readers will have to accept these brief offerings.
It all began with the results of the 2015 election. The PNC knew it had lost the AFC votes, and maybe forever. It could no longer bank on 25,000 non-PNC votes coming its way in 2020. The statements of poll for 2015 revealed that the AFC had haemorrhaged so many votes that just a smattering of AFC ballots took APNU+AFC in front of the PPP with a zero point three percent margin.
In 2015, the plan to rely on GECOM for the 2020 election was born. The first act of the play was to magnify the power of PNC ministries to ensure state resources would be expanded to concretize the totality of PNC presence in the land. The Ministry of the Presidency was created to bypass the jurisdiction of the prime minister. A majority of non-PNC ministries had a junior PNC minister.
From 2015, the PNC had to live with ghosts of 2020 stalking it. If it lost the AFC constituencies, then it had to rely on substantial increases from other demographical areas. Three focuses were born – get the youth vote, increase the mixed race support, and put all effort into wooing the Amerindian people.
What happens if this does not take them over the line? GECOM was the fall-back position. The evidence was emblazoned on the curtains of Guyana’s windows that the PNC was planning a reliance on GECOM.
Two pieces of evidence could not be argued against. Granger rejected all names for GECOM chair from the list of 30 submitted by Jagdeo, even though at least three were eligible. And his choice was unpalatable. For the rigorous task of running GECOM, he selected a person of 84 years.
His choice of Justice James Patterson worked. Patterson ushered in house to house registration that dissolved the effects of the no-confidence vote, because GECOM said it would not be in a position to conclude the exercise before February 2020, putting the election somewhere in May 2020.
Patterson was instrumental in facilitating Roxanne Myers to displace Vishnu Persaud as Deputy Chief Election Officer. The ERC on investigating Persaud’s complaint arrived at two conclusions – Persaud was more qualified and experienced than Myers, and that Patterson misled the ERC when he said he voted against Persaud because he was of shaky and flaky character. It turned out that Patterson never saw or met with Persaud.
The plan to rely on GECOM was weakened by the decision of the CCJ to have Patterson removed. Here is where confusion stepped in, and the PNC was temporarily blindsided. The stratagem was to do Patterson number 2. The excuse was to cite the CCJ ruling, which according to Granger, gave him the right to choose his own GECOM chairman.
Jagdeo knew Granger was going for Patterson number 2, and preempted him by giving him Claudette Singh. I don’t buy the theory that Singh was a plant from the beginning. I met Singh, a month before the election at the DSL supermarket on Sheriff Street. She insisted on paying my whopping grocery bill. We talked and I was convinced that she wanted a free, fair, credible, respectable election.
Singh started off creating headaches for APNU+AFC. She reversed house to house registration, speeding up an election date that APNU+AFC was not comfortable with; chose not to remove electors who never collected ID cards; sided with Shuman in his presidential candidacy which both the PPP and PNC did not want; and weakened Lowenfield’s strategy of removing the number of polling stations in PPP’s strongholds.
Since March 4, Singh has destroyed her legal legacy and her national credibility, but was she an original insider when Granger accepted her candidacy? Singh knew from early Tuesday morning (March 3) the results of the election. But she became an object of the PNC’s implorations, pressures, and maybe threats.
The PNC truly, sincerely, really believed that it had won a narrow victory because of the turnout in Region 4. But the lead after 9 districts were counted was too great to catch up, even with a victory in Region 4. APNU+AFC panicked. It embraced “deus ex machina”. It was monstrous and uncivilized. The rest is history.
(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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