The conspiracy to rig the General and Regional Elections was a plot in six acts. It commenced prior to the no-confidence motion of December 2018. It is not finished as yet. It will continue after the decision of the Caribbean Court of Justice this week. It is now crystal clear that the APNU+AFC is determined to hold on to power regardless of the costs to the nation. It is a most selfish, brazen and despotic decision.
The First Act of the rigging conspiracy involved the seizure of the Guyana Elections Commission and its Secretariat. The government insisted that the person who should head the Commission must be a judge or retired judge. Then there was the suggestions that “fit and proper” must include “judge-like” qualities. When these criteria were rejected by the Courts, there was a unilateral imposition of a Chairman on the Commission. By the time the CCJ reversed this decision, the damage had been done. The Secretariat had already been seized. The APNU+AFC was effectively in control of the Elections Commission
The Second Act of the rigging process involved delays in holding elections. The Opposition, following its electoral triumph in November 2018, moved quickly to consolidate its position by tabling in the National Assembly a no-confidence motion. The APNU+AFC needed to buy time to put measures in place to steal the elections. Legal challenges were made to the constitutionality of the no-confidence motion. Who can forget the argument that 33 was not a majority of 65 within the meaning of the Constitution? The legal challenges reached all the way to the Caribbean Court of Justice which rubbished the arguments about 33 not being a majority of 65. After the High Court had upheld the vote in the House, the government insisted on house-to house registration while they launched an appeal to the decision of the High Court. This ensured that the elections would not have been held.
Even after the CCJ ruled that the initial appointment of Justice James Patterson as Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission was unconstitutional, the government insisted on going into its third act.
That Third Act involved the government demanding that it must be able to nominate persons for the post of Chairperson. Eventually, the APNU+AFC got the candidate it wanted because Jagdeo became frustrated and was outfoxed. He did not realize that the plan of the APNU+AFC was to wear him down until he conceded to what they wanted.
The Fourth Act involved the manipulation of the results of the count of District 4 and now in terms of the perversion of the results needed for the formal declaration.
The Fifth Act involved an attempt to turn the Recount exercise into an audit and, thru that, into a sham. All manner of unsubstantiated allegations were made about impersonation and electoral manipulation. These were described by the Caricom Team which monitored the Recount as a fishing expedition. The attempt laid the foundation for the ‘invalidation’ of a quarter of all the ballots. This is the most bizarre development in the elections process.
The Sixth Act involved attempts at frustrating the work of independent election observers. The Carter Center was denied permission to return for the Recount. During the tabulations of the District 4 votes, there was a threat to the Observers that their accreditations could be rescinded. Some of them did not take this lightly.
The country is now at its present crisis because of these six acts, all of which have contributed to undermining electoral democracy. This was no ordinary attempt at perverting the elections. It was grand conspiracy which has been carefully plotted.
Democracy is being raped. The APNU+AFC is not interested in free and fair elections. It is interested only in fairy tale elections – one which will give it victory by hook or by crook.
(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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