Jul 25, 2020 Editorial
Guyana will not be held to ransom by the APNU+AFC. The ruling Coalition will not succeed in trampling the democratic will of the people. The APNU+AFC has overstayed its welcome. The people of Guyana decided this on 2nd March. It is time for the Coalition to succumb to the people’s will and facilitate a democratic transition to a new government.
The country has been in limbo for more than four months, and for no reasons other than the dishonesty and obdurate refusal of the Coalition to accept the results of the elections of 2nd March 2020. Since the conclusion of voting, the country has witnessed the most blatant and barefaced attempt to rig the elections. These attempts have been described by the Head of the Observer Mission of the Organization of America States (OAS) as the most transparent attempt he has ever seen to rig an election.
From the manipulation of the tabulations of the results, to bizarre declaration, to the refusal of an election officer to comply with lawful instructions to an unending series of litigation and now to the attempts to prevent a lawful declaration of the elections’ results, the APNU+AFC has been on a collision course with the democratic will of the people.
The international community has rejected the APNU+AFC’s nefarious plot. De facto President David Granger and his government now stand isolated internationally. Not a single state has expressed its support for the APNU+AFC. The Organization of American States (OAS), the Commonwealth, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the European Union (EU) – which collectively account for more than two-thirds of the countries of the world – have been unanimous in their demand for the results of the recount to be used for the official declaration of the results.
The European Union has said that the legitimacy of the election – and consequently that of the consequent government – will depend on the recount results. The international community has signalled in no uncertain manner that any attempt to foist any regime other than the PPP/C will not be recognized.
Any continued efforts to disrespect the will of the people will have dire implications. International aid, so desperately needed to combat the coronavirus pandemic, is likely to be only dispensed on humanitarian grounds and through non-governmental organizations. Developmental assistance, such as support for financing key infrastructural projects, including our sea defences and the Linden to Lethem Road, will be put on hold. Investment will dry-up as investors become fearful of political risks.
The country is also likely to become an outcast. Should the APNU+AFC refuse to demit office, the country is liable to be expelled or suspended from the OAS, the Commonwealth and the Caribbean Community. Any suspension of Guyana from the Caribbean Community will have serious implications for the thousands of Guyanese who are presently lawfully working in the islands by virtue of the free movement of labour under the Caribbean Single Market and Economy. Should Guyana be suspended from CARICOM, skilled-Guyanese will no longer be eligible to work without a work permit. This will result in thousands of Guyanese being deported back home. Guyana’s exports to the Caribbean will also suffer. Guyana exports its good duty-free within the CARICOM single market and the loss of this preferential will make Guyana’s exports less competitive in these markets. This could result in a loss of market-share and a cessation of exports.
An illegitimate regime therefore has both political and economic consequences. It will lead to political ostracism and economic pain. This will filter down to the ordinary citizen already reeling from the economic impact of the four-month old political impasse and COVID-19 restrictions. Those who believe that they will enjoy support for hijacking democracy are sorely mistaken. The people are in no mood to allow their democratic rights to be trampled upon by a small clique bent on protecting the interests of their financiers and to conceal the secretive and perfidious deals.
A return to dictatorship will grant a license for the further rape of the country’s patrimony. Carpetbaggers like nothing better than to deal with illegitimate regimes. A return to dictatorship will continue to enrich a few at the expense of many. A return to dictatorship will see result in a massive wave of exodus, both legal and illegal, of Guyanese to the Caribbean, North America and Europe.
For the sake of themselves and their children, Guyanese must reject the attempt of the APNU+AFC to remain in power against the people’s will. All right-thinking citizens must reject the return to political dictatorship. It is Guyana’s only chance.
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