While I do believe that because of the poor results from the AFC ‘s 2015 performance, the PNC’s war room decided as early as 2015 to ensure strategies were stored up to arrange GECOM for an election victory, I cannot accept that they knew before Tuesday night, March 3, that APNU+AFC had lost.
In my column of Wednesday, March 24, 2020 with the caption, “Claudette Singh paid for my groceries and I was convinced,” I traced the mechanisms the PNC put in place, starting from 2015, to rely on GECOM’s energy to fix the election results in case that became an exigent engagement.
So there is no need for a repetition here. My analysis here does not contradict that argument, but I am contending that the PNC and AFC leaders did not unleash GECOM top brass on the election landscape until Wednesday at noon, because there was no need to. The euphoric PNC and AFC bigwigs honestly thought that they were in the lead to win.
What happened then that caused the Mingo mingle-mangle?
On Tuesday, March 3, at midday, after the day of voting, PPP leaders went on a lockdown. They were told to cut communication with the outside world, except close family members. Intimates of individual PPP leaders, who are generous to such leaders, could not get in touch with them.
By Tuesday afternoon, after going through the statements of poll (SOPs), the PPP knew it had won a majority. By Tuesday night, individual members of the PPP hierarchy were now telling those intimates that the PPP had won. One of the very close associates of a top PPP leader informed me on Tuesday night of the PPP’s success.
By Tuesday night, the PNC and AFC bosses had not gathered all of the SOPs, but were still embracing the conviction that they had won. But things were tumbling down inside that building on Lamaha Street – APNU’s campaign office. By Wednesday morning, word got out that the PPP had won. Whether the PPP let out the information deliberately or not is not known, but mental confusion ran amok on Lamaha Street.
Three headaches pierced the ambiences of the war room on Lamaha Street. An important footnote needs to be recorded before we get to those anxieties. In 2015, APNU’s campaign office was in Queenstown, and it was there that Raphael Trotman was based, not at the AFC’s place.
I campaigned for the AFC in 2015, and Trotman hardly came to the AFC office, if he ever did. In the 2020 poll, the AFC’s campaign office was at Stone and Campbell Avenues. Trotman was based, instead, at Lamaha Street.
Back to the headaches. One – the PNC and AFC were unnerved at hearing the news of the PPP’s victory, because it seems that their sources convinced them of what they knew. Two – the PNC and AFC were numb when they saw the PPP’s lead of 51,439 with 9 Regions except Region 4 declared. Three – with SOPs coming in, the PNC and AFC saw that they had lost.
Region 4 tabulation had to stop, because the PPP victory would be announced on Wednesday afternoon of March 4. Clairmont Mingo was resorted to. This situation can be likened to the prizefighter in the movie “Mandingo.” But Mingo was no prizefighter. He was a circus acrobat whose strings were being pulled by fellow circus clowns.
So Region 4 tabulation was stopped. The 2020 election had to be rigged. But this was left to poor Mingo and the circus clowns in GECOM. One hilarious melody followed another. One manifestation of idiocy followed another. One act of clownishness followed another. That pattern continued for ten days that culminated on the Friday evening, March 13, with Mingo, his projector, a piece of cardboard and a bed sheet.
Here is my contestation. If by Tuesday evening (the day after the election) the PNC and AFC knew they had lost, I think both parties would have gone for more ingenious alternatives of rigging, rather than pin their hopes on Mingo being a Mandingo and bringing home the prize for them.
And the alternatives were many. I can think of some – cite election irregularities before Tuesday night; ask for a recount in several Regions, refuse to participate any further in the election process unless certain impossible requirements were met. That is called strategic thinking.
The PNC and AFC had no strategic thinkers when they summoned their Mandingo in the ring on that fateful afternoon of March 4. Mingo’s mingle-mangle and the comedy of the circus clowns virtually reduced GECOM, the PNC, AFC and Guyana to the ridicule of the world.
(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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