The controversies at GECOM are never-ending. This is because vigilance is tense and unceasing, with the worst suspicions and anticipations harboured. In view of what did take place in April, there is some justification for the hard distrusts maintained, as was confirmed by the news caption, “PPP opposed to Lowenfield having sole custody of statements of recount at any time” (KN May 6). That is more than a recipe for sharper controversy, it is asking for still more trouble and unyielding positions.
To restate the obvious, there is a well-established culture in this country that is characterized by raging distrusts. Even the less skeptical, the noticeably milder, in this society finds it difficult to offer the benefit of the doubt in routine transactions, be they focused on business, or involved with known relationships, sometimes even family. Too many have been burnt too often over work contracted but not done satisfactorily, over debts lent in good faith and in tough times (on both sides) but not remembered-or avoided-to be honoured through repayment, and over repeated promises made but breaches being the result. Unsurprisingly, anger, disappointment, and disgust now grace the ordinary commerce and interactions of the Guyanese day.
Now what went before is at the private level, most times out of sight and with few, other than a limited inner circle familiar with what transpired with all the disagreements between the parties and the attendant violations felt by those scarred and falling short in either the pocket or in the regard extended for a favour delivered in time of need. Since, to a considerable degree, this is now a regular aspect of the Guyanese way of life in the trenches, then not much more should occur-or is expected-in public life. It is not, with the biggest poster child, the most revealing and brightest (or dullest, depending upon point-of-view) exhibit being what has now become the dark and immovable cloud under which the secretariat of the Guyana Elections Commission functions and exists.
To be crude and blunt, and brutally so, any insensitivity, any mischief, any dishonour that could be conjured up and placed at the doorstep of those who man the crucial and sensitive work of GECOM usually possesses some proven justification. This has been earned and in the worst way possible and in a manner that takes the breath away for audacity and glaring indifference, as to reputation, the work entrusted to, and the consequences for either accidental misstep or premediated and deliberate failure.
Moreover, and as underpinned by circumstances now unchallengeable and undeniable, we are compelled to go beyond that already telling phrase from above of “placed at the doorstep” since all matters have proceeded way beyond the entry point. The reality is that the head and heart and soul have all come under the harshest rains of fire that spare almost no one, whether chair or chief executive or supporting senior management or those unknown and still faceless agents at lower levels on the ladder.
It is, indeed, regrettable, that any brush applied to GECOM since early March sweeps in broader and broader arcs. Almost no one is missed as each new day and each new development results in the brandishing of newer and newer brooms. They are endless and they sweep clean. The unfortunate collateral damage from such keen and expansive sweeps is that even the few patriotic and principled still engaged in the decisive work of the GECOM secretariat are also besmirched. It is the byproduct of guilt not even by association, but through mere nearness, no matter how detached from the proceedings. Somebody has to know something, or be doing something, and whatever it may be, it is neither for the good nor for the positive.
As for the Chief Executive Officer, he has fallen far and fast and hard in many minds. His standing is of the paltriest, which in and of itself is the worst vote of no-confidence that could accrue to any public and senior figure. More broadly, given the state of affairs at GECOM, it is not the healthiest for any single person to be the custodian of any pivotal document that is necessary for the recount. Yes! Things have degraded that much.
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