Those who are complicit or engaged in defending the rigging of the elections of 2nd March, 2020 do not deserve any respect. Their actions are contemptuous of all Guyanese, regardless of who they voted for and therefore can be branded as electoral brigands.
Even the riggers could have not contemplated that five months after the elections, a declaration cannot be made when all the votes were validated and counted at the place of poll on the 2nd March, 2020. The situation which has developed is simply bizarre and not even a script writer of horror movies could have imagined such a storyline.
This storyline however is no fiction. It is reality. Guyanese democracy has become the victim of a demonic attempt to steal an election.
Guyana is now, once again, a pariah state, a political outcast. This has implications for the ordinary citizen, just as it did in the past when Guyanese became the object to taunts and ridicule because of its failure to uphold democratic norms.
It is simply incomprehensible that one of the largest political parties in Guyana along with its auxiliaries, could be so politically backward and naïve as to believe that it could get away with the rigging of an election or that the perversion of electoral democracy would be countenanced in this day and age.
The country has been brought to a standstill because of the brazen attempt to steal the elections. There is no budget, no parliament to exercise oversight over government spending and actions. International aid has been virtually placed on ice until a legitimate government is in place.
All of this is happening at a time when a global pandemic, the worst in 100 years is ravaging the planet. The lack of a legitimate government is handicapping efforts to source critical international finance to fight the pandemic.
As was reported in yesterday’s edition of this newspaper, more than 100 countries have come out and called for the elections impasse to be brought to an end. The United States have already imposed sanctions on individuals believed to have been involved in undermining democracy.
Guyana has gotten bruised eye. The country has been shamed. Its President has been disgraced by the outpouring of international condemnation about what took place. Guyana now faces the ignominy of being suspended or expelled from organizations – the Caribbean Community, the Organization of American States and the Commonwealth.
Venezuela, Guyana’s belligerent neighbour to the West, is bound to take advantage of this situation. Guyana depends on the support of these organizations in affirming their support for respect for Guyana’s territorial integrity. Suspension from the organs of the Caribbean Community, the Organization of American States and the Commonwealth will leave Guyana without any significant support should Venezuela become aggressive.
But the most tragic situation of all if what is happening in the economy. From all accounts, the economy has been experiencing some stresses which were masked by the growth which it has enjoyed over the past five years. International reserves have declined to dangerous levels; there is a high overdraft in the deposit account at the Bank of Guyana. This overdraft is nearing more than the signing bonus which Guyana received from ExxonMobil. In addition to this, the performance of the critical sectors of the economy has been mixed.
The failure to allow a transition to a new government will adversely affect government’s attempt to reverse these negative developments. The earned oil revenues cannot be remitted because there is no parliament to allow for the funds to be repatriated to the Natural Resource Fund, Guyana’s equivalent of a Sovereign Wealth Fund.
People are suffering. Thousands of persons have not been able to earn a decent living over the past four months. There has been only modest assistance offered to the most vulnerable. As you move around the country, it is heartbreaking to see people begging to simply put food on the table.
A health disaster is in the making. More than 350 persons have already been infected with the coronavirus and there have been 20 deaths. The curve of active cases is not even plateauing. The number of new cases continues to increase.
While this tragedy is taking place, a group of rich financiers is using their grip of persons within the government to deny a democratic transition of government. They are only interested in safeguarding their selfish objectives. They are not concerned about the poor people of this country who are suffering.
Against this background, the actions of those who are complicit in undermining democracy are unconscionable and uncaring. They are cruel and cold-hearted.
(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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