The APNU+AFC acted dishonestly and dishonourably over the past five months. Nothing which it did over that period can be described or deemed as responsible.
The Coalition attempted to steal the elections. The Head of the Observer Mission of the Organization of American States, Bruce Golding, stated that it was the most transparent attempt he had ever seen to steal an election.
The actions brought the country to the doorstep of dictatorship. It was only because of combined pressure of the local and international community that the country did not descend into this pit.
As part of its attempt to steal the elections, the APNU+AFC manufactured falsehoods. First, it claimed that it had won the elections and later, when a Recount was agreed upon, it contended that the Recount would confirm its victory. It even vouched that its Statements of Poll would confirm its victory.
When the Recount expose the Mingo’s fingering of the numbers, the APNU+AFC created and ratcheted up a new narrative that there were gross irregularities which discredited the electoral process and made it impossible to determine the legitimate outcome.
Yet, the same APNU+AFC was prepared to accept a report from the Chief Elections Officer which handed it a victory while in process disenfranchising thousands of voters on two occasions and, in one case, on the basis of results which showed more votes than were actually cast.
The Coalition inflicted great pain on the population. Its attempt to steal the elections and to litigate its narratives dragged on and delayed for five months the conclusion of the electoral process, the longest time it has ever taken for an election result to be declared, allowing for Guyana’s infamous entry into the record books.
The elections stalemate put the entire country on tenterhooks. People suffered as a result of this extended wait. The election crisis exacerbated the hardships resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Many were without food and the means to earn an income.
In the face of these hardships, the Coalition had precious little to offer. Instead of trying to source resources for relief, it became more preoccupied with but racked up massive legal fees for its elections’ litigation.
In the process, the APNU+AFC has in the process done untold damage to the country’s institutions. As one Head of Observer Mission noted, it will take a generation to undo the damage. And it will take considerable confidence-building measures to restore public confidence in the Guyana Elections Commission. The actions of the APNU+AFC has cast a spell of suspicion over future elections. And all because it refused to stand up and “take its licks like a man.”
The APNU+AFC has shamed Guyana in the eyes of the Caribbean. The people of the Caribbean saw this country as one in which electoral democracy was placed under threat. Guyana almost became a pariah state, one again.
The electoral shenanigans of the APNU+AFC have embarrassed the people of this country in the eyes of the international community. People were amazed at the rank dishonesty of the APNU+AFC and those who were complicit in electoral dishonesty.
Major players in the Elections Commission were complicit in this action and this will mean that serious reforms will have to be undertaken before any future elections are held. Once a loophole exists for cheating, the APNU+AFC will use it and exploit it.
The five months stalemate witnessed indecisive government. The focus was concentrated more on the elections’ dispute and, as a consequence, the COVID-19 epidemic was mismanaged. Since the elections, 22 persons have died and more than 500 persons infected. The daily new infections suggest that the local epidemic is now out of control and a total lockdown may soon have to be ordered.
In this regard, the actions of the APNU+AFC in dragging out the elections impasse, were unconscionable. The COVID-19 epidemic could have been better controlled had there not been this extended wait in which the country could not source critical assistance.
Over the past 5 months, the APNU+AFC was deceitful and irresponsible. It should bow its head in shame at its infamous actions. To have the temerity to describe its actions as responsible is to further insult the intelligence and decency of the Guyanese people.
(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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