Jun 09, 2020 News
– Highlights plans for way forward
By Shikema Dey
With the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections recount concluded, seeing the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) emerging the victors with an unassailable lead, the other political players who contested in the elections have accepted the results and are in the process of moving forward, sharing different views on their plans to bring change in Guyana.
That is with the exception of the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition who continue to maintain that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) cannot deliver credible elections results using ‘illegal and fraudulent’ votes.
The results of the tabulation show that the PPP has won the recount with a grand total of 233,336 votes against the APNU+AFC Coalition’s 217,920 votes. While the tabulation of the votes has been completed, no declaration has been made, and the very last District, Region Four, is yet to be certified.
The Coalition, in a statement by Campaign Co-Chair Joseph Harmon stated “Tabulation is not Validation: once only valid votes are counted.” If this is done, he noted, the Coalition will emerge victorious. Throughout the process, the party has made claims of dead and migrant voters and systematic electoral fraud, all of which are unsubstantiated. This paper yesterday made multiple attempts to make contact with several senior members of the incumbent administration, including Harmon, to offer their views on the way forward but none were answered.
Invitation for participation – PPP
While he has avoided any commitment to shared governance at the executive level, PPP Presidential candidate and effective President-Elect, Dr. Irfaan Ali, told Kaieteur News that he was looking forward to inviting political parties and civil society stakeholders to providing input into state infrastructure particularly at the level of boards and other policy creation and implementation mechanisms.
“I have a duty to all Guyanese,” Ali said, “PPP supporters, yes, but also to all Guyanese to ensure that their voices are heard.”
He said that recognition needs to be given to the various stakeholders who were involved in the recount process and who lent their support to “upholding of democracy”, including the small parties, Guyanese at home and in the diaspora and the various international partners like CARICOM, the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.
Ali said that he intends to reach across the aisle and floated his intention, for example, of inviting all other contesting parties to meet with a PPP/C government and share key highlights of their manifesto and other plans.
“Before all that is done, however, we need to put the elections behind us before we can talk about embracing the future together,” he said.
Moving forward – TCI
The 2020 Elections saw the emergence of a string of new political parties, most of which have been active and visible during the recount.
For The Citizenship Initiative (TCI), priority is commencing preparations for the Local Government Elections (LGE) and to build on the credibility attained during the elections season. Kaieteur News spoke with Presidential Candidate, Rondha-Ann Lam who said that the 2020 Elections was educational, teaching lessons that many take years to learn.
“We got an intimate look into the elections process, campaigning, moving up towards the recount, and ultimately the recount helped us to see the inner workings of GECOM, how the votes are tabulated, to the declaration of the winner. It was the baptism of fire, but at the same time, it was an educational experience that perhaps, as a politician, it would have taken years to learn,” Lam told this paper.
According to her, despite the party not making a dent in the elections, the vision they brought to the table will stay with Guyanese many years to come.
“What TCI is looking to do,” Lam said “is build on the credibility that we have established, the integrity that we have maintained. Six hundred and eighty people voted for us. It might seem like a little bit but it meant a lot to us. It meant that 680 people believed in us.”
Ending the winner-takes- all system – ANUG
For A New and United Guyana (ANUG), a change to the “winner-takes-all system” is their primary focus in the years to come. Chairman of ANUG, Timothy Jonas told this paper that the party will be pushing for constitutional reform and inclusive governance, two integral topics that are blasted during campaign season and according to Jonas, forgotten when the hard work begins.
He explained that the very system is what polarizes Guyanese every five years “because you have a winner and a loser.”
“ANUG is going to be, from day one, saying to the PPP that you need to have shared governance where that opposition whether you like them or not, you must acknowledge that they represent 40 odd % of the population,” Jonas said.
He stressed “That 40 odd percent of Guyana needs to be represented in decision making. And the system needs to change that representatives of that specific party are in there making decisions with you.”
Jonas made the party’s position clear that is there any delay in “constitutional reform, we will be quarrelling.”
He said, “We are waiting because we know from long, hard experience, when you win elections, you stop talking about constitutional reform, you stop talking about shared governance and you start enjoying yourselves. So we are waiting.”
Towards greater youth involvement – TNM
The New Movement with Presidential Candidate, Dr. Asha Kissoon at the head, is of the belief that youth should play a more “active role at the highest level of Guyanese politics.” This, according to the party, will “bring a breath of fresh air to this divisive and toxic political climate we will inherit.”
TNM in a statement called on Guyana’s youth population, to not be manipulated by political leaders.
The party said “Resist the urge, especially by political leaders who enjoy cordial relationships behind the scenes, to endanger your lives on the streets in confrontation with your political opposition and police.”
TNM also called on the new political parties to ban together, in order to be a vibrant third force and bring an end to the “majority government” trend.
“The time has come,” the statement said, “for us to come together at the center of the Guyanese political spectrum to offer critical analysis and workable alternatives for the Guyanese people.”
Address racial discrimination – URP
For the United Republican Party, the issue of racial discrimination and segregation needs to be addressed by the new government. Leader, Vishnu Bandhu in a statement, urged the new leaders to “come off of their high horses and think of creating a level playing field for all.”
According to him, “Our country needs to heal the scars of racism which have consumed our country for decades. The tradition of riots and disobedience after almost every election must be stemmed and citizens from all races, creed, and class must have a feeling of belonging.”
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