Jun 14, 2020 Editorial
If anyone ever said that elections in Guyana are dull and boring, that persons should have his or her head examined. If it were not for the tensions and seriousness, elections here would be a fun filled occasion, a macabre masterpiece theater production of the first order. For all intents and purposes, what we have had here, what we have now ended up with after the drawn-out quarrels and agonies is a draw. In view of Saturday’s development out of the GECOM Secretariat, the chairwoman just got a last-minute reprieve. In fact, she may have been the beneficiary of a full pardon, compliments of the Chief Elections Officer of the secretariat, who just submitted his report to the commission.
CEO Lowenfield’s main point is best summed up in four small, simple words: not fair, not credible. That would be the entire elections process of 2020, which walks the whole gamut from what is assessed to have happened in the trenches on voting day, March 2, to how the clerical and counting and oversight tasks were completed in the many polling places throughout the ten administrative regions of Guyana, and to what is now captured and embedded in his report to the chair.
We may disagree with the conclusion of the GECOM CEO, even question his own integrity and credibility, and argue for and against what is now surfacing and making furious rounds throughout Guyana. All of that might be comforting to the spirit (and the cause favored), but it does not in any way amend or impact what is the CEO’s position, as incorporated in his full report to the commission. Our positions and that of onlookers and interested players, be they local or foreign, do not matter in the grand scheme of things, in any analysis, and with regard to any consideration of what has now been placed before the six politically appointed commissioners and the chair.
For what has to be before them must be the underlying facts and circumstances from near and far, as examined, reviewed, and evaluated by the secretariat’s staff. If not, the CEO would be remiss in his responsibilities to the commission and be dismissed outright as not having a leg to stand on in terms of the covering comments issued in his name. Whether he overreached or not is not the issue. What is relevant and material and consequential is the foundation of supporting facts on which his report could conclude that the general elections were not fair, not credible.
To be sure, there has to be a barrage of situations and numbers from the electoral fields to bolster his calling the elections in the way that he did. At the very least, we would expect, and so should the whole nation, an array of statistics, persuasive proofs, and strong evidentiary chains that go deeper than media headlines and surrounding details have been able to relay to a transfixed Guyanese citizenry. Whatever Mr. Lowenfield has based his position of the elections being neither fair nor credible cannot be either frivolous or specious or ludicrous.
As should be expected, politicians and their experts, who strenuously and furiously disagree with Mr. Lowenfield’s take will resort to the legal to point out that he has no standing (neither duty nor authority) to make the kind of pronouncement that he did. Indeed, that contention has some merit, but we are hard pressed to figure out how the chairwoman could go against what the chief of the process overseers in the GECOM Secretariat has articulated in his position as a “resource expert.” He ought to be more than familiar with the workings and the groundings of the last elections now appearing to be trapped in stalemate territory.
Prior to this development from CEO Lowenfield, it was understood and accepted across the board of the chairwoman, as it was said by the head of the Commonwealth Observer Mission and former Bajan Prime Minister, Owen Arthur, that “she is aware that the eyes of the world are upon her” (KN June 13). In view of what is the headline from the CEO’s report, the eyes and ears and emotions of political Guyana are all focused intently on Chairwoman, Retired Justice Claudette Singh. And none more than those of the coalition, which has its back to the wall, and the most territory to regain.
One can only imagine the reactions of coalition leaders and supporters, should the chairwoman give short thrift or dismiss out of hand, the assertion from the head of the people who man the ramparts and run the world that is GECOM. To put in the kindest and coolest way, it would be that the deck is stacked against it, the party cannot get its share of fair consideration that is owed and, therefore, it is then in a well-placed position to reject whatever declaration, if any, is issued by GECOM. That such a declaration is not based on the evidence of wrongdoing and many shortcomings. That it is lacking in substance and merit, and that when it (the coalition) is cheated, it is still made to pay the steepest price. And with the coalition adopting the only position that it could take-in effect, seize-then the social outlook would have just deteriorated from terrible to disastrous.
It is our hope here at this publication, that all the supporting facts and figures, and the associated narratives, would be given their due regard, through serious weighing. Since, it is now the norm to expect that the Commission itself would be automatically deadlocked straight down party lines at 3:3, the ball really belongs to the chair. It is her decision to make, her declaration to deliver. As the man from Bridgetown said, “the eyes of the rest of the world are upon her.” We trust that wherever she ends up, such is based on the greatest prudence, the deepest wisdom, and the strongest character towards what passes eye test, smell test, and every other test. Guyana now waits with bated breath.
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