In his Sunday column, after describing his historical role in the struggle for democracy and the political journey that led to his ethnic awakening, Dr. David Hinds (KN, April 5, 2020), urged Guyanese to “Scrap this election. Destroy those boxes. Install an Interim Government led by Granger as president and the PPP man as Prime Minister. Divide the Cabinet equally between the two sides. Go back to the old parliament. Set up an Independent Commission tasked with structurally overhauling GECOM, changing the governance architecture and the electoral laws to ensure outcomes that are in keeping with power sharing. Give them two years to do that and then go back to elections.”
His proposals for an interim government of National Unity, followed by constitutional and electoral reform must be seen as another earnest attempt by Guyanese to seek a political solution out of this quagmire. But his suggestion to “scrap this election” and “destroy the ballot boxes” has other implications. One, Dr. Hinds, is a leader of the WPA, which has emerged as an apologist for the ruling Coalition. Dr. Hinds is now accepting what most Guyanese suspected, namely, that the coalition lost the March 2 elections. Two, Hinds is suggesting that we now ignore the results of the elections and pretend as if it did not happen. Asking the main opposition to negotiate with a losing party means that negotiations for an interim government will take place under a cloud of suspicion, rather than good faith. Three, inherent in Dr. Hinds bold statement is an awareness that the opposition is impotent, when it comes to effectuating change in the current political configuration. The Coalition has entrenched itself militarily and politically, with firm control of the coercive powers of the state. Any power-sharing arrangement, without first acknowledging the electoral results, will see the coalition continuing to exert its bullying tactics to produce a win-lose outcome.
I note that Dr. Hinds has been a champion on power-sharing in Guyana (he wrote a book on it), but, like his colleagues Moses Bhagwan and Eusi Kwayana, has abandoned that call since 2015. I suspect that if David truly believed that the Coalition had verifiably won the 2020 election, power-sharing would be on the back-burner. I end by reminding David of a pertinent fact. As a university lecturer in the US, he knows full well that many people have died in the struggle to preserve the right to have their votes counted. But more pointedly, as an influential columnist, I fear David is offering a Plan B to the “riggers” – if the verification count shows that we lost, then let’s burn the ballot boxes, regardless of who is watching.
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