By Leonard Gildarie
Today makes 111 days since the March 2nd elections. The matter is before the courts as I write.
It was scheduled to be heard at 11am, on a Saturday at the Court of Appeal, Kingston. A woman has filed a case asking that Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, halt any moves to hand over the declarations report to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) until the case is completed.
To say our people have reached the end of the rope would be a gross understatement.
Friday was a brutal day for the Coalition.
The president’s son-in-law, Dominic Gaskin, a member of Alliance For Change, along with founder of the Justice For All Party, Chandra Narine Sharma, all conceded that the coalition led by David Granger has lost the elections. The two parties are both critical coalition partners.
To crown it, leader of the Alliance For Change, Khemraj Ramjattan, meeting with senior officials of various departments in the Ministry of Public Security, dealt the coalition another fatal blow. He reportedly conceded that the coalition has lost. It is on recording.
It has been 111 days since those elections after what would have been a highly divisive 2019 that followed the December 21, 2018 no-confidence vote that toppled the coalition.
For coalition supporters, the more than 200,000 that voted, it would be devastating. They have been told time and again they won. For the Opposition’s People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) which has been handed the lead of over 15,000 and positioned for the presidency, by a national recount, the delays have been excruciating.
In the meantime we dally, while the clock is ticking.
Brazil, our neighbour, has skyrocketed with the one million mark for Coronavirus cases. It has recorded almost 50,000 deaths, second only to the US.
Our economy, targeted by COVID-19, and buffeted by other factors, have literally left the treasury bare, it is being reported.
The chair for GECOM, Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh has reportedly asked that the court case be thrown out. In court documents, she questioned what basis of the case and the authority of GECOM to hold court and take evidence.
In other words, the GECOM chair has come out and told the court that the case has no merit.
In the past, we spoke on the importance of a legacy. In 2015, President David Granger brought tears to the eyes of Guyanese. He stood on the balcony of the Parliament buildings and under the watchful eyes of the crowd and cameras, in a cracked voice, sang to the patriotism of Guyana.
People believed him.
He hit the ground running. The cleanup of the city began. Guyana would be lying to itself to say that the city has not improved. The passport office has improved.
A Procurement Commission is in place. Local Government Elections were held. The Police Force has seen improvements.
However, today, the country is deeply divided. Social cohesion is a term in the air.
The sugar industry has lost over 7,000 workers to downsizing and closure of four estates.
Since December 21, 2018, this country has come to a standstill.
The questions about the oil sector have largely been met with stony silence despite the glaring holes in the story.
It all comes down to David Granger. He has the power to make it stop.
Guyana is a place with decent people who wants to work hard and send their children to school.
We have largely left our politicians to do their jobs.
The 2020 elections has seen an awakening of the people that I have never seen before. The Opposition has banded together. The international community has criticized and urged for the results to be respected.
The CARICOM, of which we are part of, and which has its headquarters here, have come out saying the elections are above board.
The local and international observers are all saying the same thing.
Here now, the AFC’s leader has acknowledged to his department heads at a ministry that that is indeed so.
Here now, JFAP’s whose party had a ministerial post via Jaipaul Sharma is saying clearly, that the coalition has lost.
Gaskin, the president’s son-in-law did not mince words on Friday in his Facebook post.
His post was over 1,100 words long. It would be instructional that he acknowledged that having won the 2015 elections by a slim majority, the APNU+AFC Coalition could not easily win the 2020 elections.
Instead, it would rely on swing votes. He said he knew by Wednesday, March 4th that a coalition victory, while still possible, was unlikely.
According to the former minister, all of this leads to a very uncomfortable conclusion, that the APNU+AFC has no intention of relinquishing control of government.
Very telling was how he ended it: “My message to my colleagues in the APNU+AFC is simple. No one elected us to remain in office forever. There is no reasonable basis on which you can claim to have won more votes than the PPP-C in these elections. Level with your supporters and start directing your energies towards becoming a credible opposition party in time for 2025. Above all, try to regain the trust of the swing voter. You will never win another election without their support.”
Mr. President, the ball is in your court. A decent man, your own son-in-law has come out. It would never be easy for him. It would never be easy for you.
But Guyana’s future remains at stake.
Guyana needs a vibrant, energized opposition in the National Assembly.
Be a soldier…lead your troops to a better Guyana and position yourself for 2025.
For the sake of all Guyana.
(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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