This week begins with expectations that after the CCJ rules on Guyana’s elections, that this national horror story would be over. Rather regrettably, we struggle to fathom how it could be so, since every time there were beliefs that the paralysis was over, and that this country could start again, hopes were smashed.
As much as we wish that sickening elections winds are gone, and we could move forward, this has not happened. With so much uncertainty present we feel compelled to ask: after the CCJ rules, then what and to where? More pointedly, after whichever way the CCJ goes, what kind of complying will occur with its orders?
On this Sunday we wait on the CCJ. It is guaranteed that many would be disappointed, since men operate differently over there. The disappointments and disturbances would flare from men right here, who may go against what is handed down, through failing to adhere to the tight preciseness demanded in each letter, then by distancing from the spirit of the court’s decision(s). We have more than adequate grounds on which to rest and justify such an uncharitable and unhelpful conclusion. We only ask this: remember Achilles of Greek fame, the excesses to which men are prone, the fate of recklessness. Also remember the boy, who cried wolf once too often. Toying with the brink and playing with the Fates in serial mis-judgments usually result in the worst outcomes. May it not be so in this wheelchair-bound Guyana of ours. Yet, as we briefly look back at what has transpired since the finish of the original count and then during the process and since the end of the recount, it has been nothing but the troubling.
In past Sundays, there were these unbelievable developments, where many of the conscientious people, who were appointed or volunteered their good offices, and became close to this process have been tarnished. First was the chair of GECOM, who bore the brunt of the blows, both directly and by other means, and mostly wrongly.
Second, the documented work product of assessments and conclusions of those not attached to GECOM, but mostly of foreign origins came under withering fire and scornful dismissal. There were allegations about bias and collusion, about lack of judgment and an absence of the kind of leadership required at the helm of GECOM. The kind of leadership looked for from GECOM had to match unmoving partisan leanings, or it was condemnation to the gallows.
Then, the recount, no matter how seen by a host of neutral observers, had no merit, no standing. Again, this was seen coming, given the daily chorus of disputes and objections plucked out of thin air, and which were expected to be relied upon and acted upon on the basis that the allegations of improprieties were made, and with nothing else behind them. The coalition standing on the thinnest ground, widely suspect ground, would tolerate no other position other than outsiders joined in the frauds and camouflages. This set the stage for delay and court action, then repositioning for more objections and further delays while more senior courts were approached.
From all of this, it became increasingly evident that time was being cunningly bought, with political objectives now slowly coming to light. Now options are about exhausted, the endgame takes complete shape. Even though we have asked repeatedly how much longer, the evasive tactics of the coalition cannot continue forever. Its real hand will be shown later this week, or not much longer.
CARICOM did show its hand with a report that was compelling in its force. The hedging language that is customary in sensitive matters like these was missing. The report of the regional agency spoke bluntly and weightily on matters of the overall process and its credibility. Nonetheless, this was greeted with silence at the highest leadership level in this country, and scant regard by those making the most noise in the trenches. It is as if the work of CARICOM had absolutely no significance, and that its earlier heralded pride of place disappeared overnight or was merely an exercise in buying time.
As said earlier, this game has to end soon, and then this nation will know, who is really whom, and what were the real objectives all along.
We say this because the future of Guyana’s 2020 elections rests with the CCJ. Whether it upholds or overturns what has been placed before it, the CCJ will set a clear path for four sets of people on how each should be, with one of those sets standing all by herself. In order of importance and timing, the four sets are the chair of GECOM, the two political leaders, the wider circle of advisers and supporters, and the international community.
Retired Judge, Ms. Claudette Singh, must act efficiently and authoritatively. There must be an end to the resisting and stonewalling that have featured prominently around her. We hope that she acts decisively.
Nevertheless, however the CCJ rules, and it is hoped that it would be before the end of this week, Chairwoman Singh must move with the alacrity and strength befitting her high and crucial office, as well as herself. Should the role of the CCJ be totally completed on or before the end of this week, we expect and insist upon a declaration, in the swiftness allowed by circumstances. We do not wish to speak of declaration next Sunday. Or afterwards, since there are many other urgent matters that wait for immediate attention. Just do it.
Next, regardless of how and what the jurists of the CCJ hand down, political leaders must accept and concede no less rapidly. Specifically, we speak to President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharat Jagdeo.
This country needs this kind of mature leadership, this degree of sober statesmanship, like never before in our terrible history. The anticipation is that the words coming out of this editorial page next Sunday will be about the positive, the gracious, and the national. We have had too much of the carping and the self-destructive, of which more than enough has been spoken and written. Leaders must do part, whatever the disappointment. They must manifest that they are men of law, and not men consumed by the paranoias of ambition and self-inflicted madness.
The third set of Guyanese involved in any post-CCJ reception circles the tribes of supporters on both sides of the divide. Responses, of necessity, must be temperate, with the respect due to the law and its orders of prime importance. Notwithstanding individual and sectional deflation, disillusionment must not take hold. There is a country to restart, reengineer, and reinvigorate towards its great prospects. Such a spirit must cascade down from leaders to loyalists, particularly the diehards and reckless, with leadership insistence on the firmest following of what is lawful and constructive. We trust that next Sunday, and thereafter, there will be no need to condemn any group, for a start would be made with leaders.
Last, the international community, through sustained vigilance, has held Guyana closer than most of its children have done. It must continue to watch carefully, and already the Americans, British, Canadians, and Europeans have signaled their unwavering interest on an early and exemplary declaration from Chairwoman Singh. The international community, too, will be subjected to the closest scrutiny, if only to ascertain the purity of its purposes, and the truths of its words and positions. The Sundays to follow should confirm bona fides.
It has been the longest of journeys to nowhere; the positive must come. The world is at the feet of Guyanese. May we be ready to seize it and get the best out of it. By all and for all. We are ready to do more from next Sunday, then beyond.
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