As the analysts get down to examining the strategies behind the election rigging by the PNC and AFC, the question will inevitably arise as to why they conceded after five months; why until five months? It is outside the scope of one column to comprehensively assess why that decision was made. Here are some brief notes and further columns will delve deeper into this mystery.
It dragged on beyond the first week in March because I think APNU+AFC leaders were in a state of both confusion and shock. The loss was mentally lacerating. They couldn’t understand that they had lost. Wednesday night of March 4, most of the big wigs in the PNC and AFC met at the PNC’s campaign office on Lamaha Street. Many persons at that meeting literally wept. At that gathering, a decision was taken to rig the poll to give them a minority government and this would be done by the GECOM Secretariat.
They decided they will do a barefaced thing and bring it to an end on March 14 after Mingo’s second declaration at the GECOM head office in Kingston. So why wasn’t David Granger sworn in on the Saturday of March 14? Two factors were considered. One was that the Mingo’s Kingston thing was not expected to be so crude and it was felt that Claudette Singh would not go along with it since Mingo did not adhere to the Chief Justice’s ruling.
The second factor was that Mingo had messed up so badly in Kingston that it further galvanized the West, the OAS and CARICOM that the bigwigs of the PNC and AFC were confused about what to do next. It appeared that no one supervised Mingo as to how to go about doing a plausible rigging, so Mingo just messed up by using a bed sheet and a piece of cardboard that made the March 4 rigging at the Ashmin’s Building look like child’s play.
From March 14, the PNC and the hardliners in the AFC (Cathy Hughes, Raphael Trotman and David Patterson – gang of 3) were undecided as to what they could do next. The problem was that no eminent organization in and outside of Guyana had endorsed a Granger victory and the global doors were closing in. In April, in the midst of the mental quagmire that the kings and queens were living in, the Americans suggested a solution and worked through CARICOM; thus was born the Mottley idea – a recount as what happened in 1997 when CARICOM undertook a similar operation.
The third occasion of confusion arose. Granger agreed to the Mottley idea and did not consult the PNC’s war room or the AFC’s gang of 3. The gang of 3 and a cabal inside the PNC finally agreed to use the Mingo declaration after they felt that the Court of Appeal would rule that GECOM was wrong to concede a recount supervised by CARICOM.
The fourth occasion of confusion was born. The Court of Appeal comprising Justice Dawn Gregory and Brassington Reynolds ruled that GECOM cannot be stopped by the court from pursuing a recount. The strategy now was to classify the election as highly irregular by continuously shouting too many illegalities occur.
The hope was that the CARICOM team would buy into this formula but the three-person CARICOM team did not. Why? Because the claims of irregularities consisted of stupidities which disgusted the CARICOM group. First, Joseph Harmon claimed thousands of ballots from the security forces were not stamped thus did not count. But it was scientifically impossible for anyone to know this because they voted with ordinary ballots like every other citizen and the ballots were mixed with other ballots in other districts.
As the accusations of irregularities evaporated, and the CARICOM team was seen to be accepting that the election was fair, the decision to hold on to power and bargain with the West for power-sharing was taken by both the PNC and the AFC. But one stumbling block stood in the way – CARICOM and the West were not prepared to confabulate on that topic.
The final survival kit was used on Sunday, August 2 when Singh unnecessarily agreed to ask Granger and Bharrat Jagdeo to negotiate a settlement. One must understand that nothing ventured, nothing gained. The PNC had nothing to lose by trying a thing and asking Jagdeo to negotiate power-sharing. Space has run out, so I will follow up by looking at why the PNC/AFC gave up power rather than stay on longer than August. The intention was to stay on. So what factors caused them to choose August? I will offer two reasons.
(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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