Martin Niemoller, a Lutheran pastor, who was born in 1892 and lived to the ripe old age of 92 wrote the following words:
“They came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time, no one was left to speak up.”
The international community is daily condemning the shenanigans being employed to rig the 2020 General and Regional Elections. World leaders, heads of international organizations, retired Heads of Government, academic and politicians across the world are raising the voice in support of democracy in Guyana.
In Guyana, a large number of organizations have come out in support of electoral democracy and against the attempts at rigging the elections. But, apart from the Justice for All Party (JFAP), there has been a deafening silence from within the Coalition.
Except for the JFAP, none of the other Coalition parties have come out and disavowed the shameless rigging which is believed to be orchestrated by the PNC/R. By their silence, these parties and their leaders have been complicit in the scheme to deny the will of the people.
Instead, leaders within the AFC have joined the PNC/R bandwagon in supporting the perversion of electoral democracy. It cannot be that they are afraid. Sharma was not afraid. The only leader of the AFC who has come out and condemned the Coalition’s lying to its supporters is Dominic Gaskin. No other AFC leader has done so. In fact, just yesterday one of them took a swipe at the countries of the Caribbean, urging them to stay out of Guyana’s business.
The leaders of the AFC have refused to disassociate themselves from electoral rigging. And by their own silence and actions in support of electoral malfeasance, these leaders must be held accountable for aiding in the undermining of democracy.
One of the greatest scientists – some say he is the greatest – who ever lived, Albert Einstein, once said, “If I were to remain silent, I would be guilty of complicity.”
Martin Luther King Jnr. He said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” The great civil rights leader warned, “The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.”
Mahatma Gandhi put it as follows: “Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.”
One of the AFC’s leaders said goodbye to the senior members of his Ministry. He admitted to them that the PPP/C had beaten the Coalition by more than 15,000 votes.
But as soon as new shenanigans to rig the elections emerged, he changed his tune and said he was only saying goodbye because he was moving on to a new posting. He was moving to a new posting even before the election results were known.
The Secretary of State of the United States has indicated that he has instructed his staff to hold those in Guyana who undermine democracy accountable. The United States has so far been restrained, most likely since it does not wish to act preemptively.
However, what is clear is that the United States does not bluff. Those who feel therefore that they can engage in electoral fraud and escape sanctions will have a rude awakening when they realize the reach, which the United States has.
The USA, Canada and the powerful European Union dominate the western economy. And when they impose personal sanctions certain persons will realize the folly of their ways.
The leaders of the AFC will not escape the sanctions. Except for Dominic Gaskin, all the others will be eligible to be sanctioned, especially those who believe that they will get away with electoral fraud.
It is chilling to think that these are the very persons who were administering the country over the past five years. They are unfit to ever rule again. By their actions and silence, they cannot escape culpability for what is taking place presently.
(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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