I have lived in and studied Guyana for all my life and I don’t think there has been any period, whether months or years, where moral values were so butchered than the last five months – March 4 to August 4. It is a logical thought to put the question to Guyanese as to whether we will survive.
Here is a brief journey down those poisonous pathways of the most shocking abandonment of the use of any criterion or set of criteria to arrive at what is decent and what is unacceptable. We start with Barrington Braithwaite. In his columns in the Chronicle during those five months of election rigging, Braithwaite endorsed the Mingo/Lowenfield report and was a strong defender of GECOM chairman, Claudette Singh.
Then Braithwaite suddenly morphed into psychiatrist and declared in his Sunday July 19 column that Singh was suffering from mental problems and proceeded to diagnose those problems. And to think an editor allowed that piece to go which has been withdrawn from online circulation since there is new editorial management at the Chronicle. What is shocking about this derogation of Ms. Singh? It came from a man who is a sitting member of the Ethnic Relations Commission.
We move to Lincoln Lewis. In his Kaieteur News columns, Lewis, like Braithwaite, defended the Mingo/Lowenfield tabulation. Lewis went further. He frenetically criticized those who questioned Singh’s professionalism and emotionally defended her.
He also stated Guyanese must respect our judicial system. The metamorphosis of Lewis was identical to Braithwaite’s. As the court cases came to an end and Singh ruled that the election results must be based on the Caricom-observed recount, Lewis called upon APNU+AFC presidential candidate, David Granger, to use his presidential powers and institute an inquiry into GECOM. What is disturbing about Lewis’ action? This man is the General-Secretary of the Trade Union Congress that has to negotiate with the government and society’s business owners on workers’ rights.
Henry Jeffrey used his Stabroek News columns to argue that the registration list had over 600,500 names thus a free and fair election could not have emerged from such a bloated document. It turned out that only 440,000 persons voted. This meant that over 200,000 persons on the electoral roll did not show up. And who is Jeffrey? Not an uneducated labourer but a man who taught at UG for 15 years and was a Cabinet Minister for 16 years.
Next is Vincent Alexander. As a PNC GECOM commissioner, Alexander stood firmly behind the Mingo/Lowenfield submission that gave victory to the APNU+AFC. He even tabled a motion for GECOM to accept that declaration thus bringing the election saga to an end.
When five CARICOM Prime Ministers came here to seek an end to the election insanity, Alexander wrote them in his capacity as head of the International Decade for People of African Descent-Guyana. He asked for a meeting to discuss fundamental problems of ethnic competition which periodic elections only exacerbate, and postulated that these PMs find a solution beyond the necessity of having the 2020 election results.
Looked at from any angle, this is horrible hypocrisy. How can you request CARICOM intervention to go beyond election which you say is of lesser importance than finding a solution to ethnic domination, yet you are a GECOM commissioner strenuously seeking an election result based on fraud to catapult your ethnic party in power. Could there be a more infamous example of lost moral compass?
Then there is Cathy Hughes who said in parliament a few days ago that the PPP overlooked the APNU+AFC that won 217,000 votes to offer the position of deputy speaker to Lenox Shuman of a small party. Was this the Freudian veil that has finally come off? Ms. Hughes was in court for the filing of the election petition in which her entity will argue that the election was massively fraudulent. How she arrived at 217,000 when they are claiming that is not a true figure?
Finally, Vincent Adams. How can any newspaper or any academic or any independent mind argue a case for one of the leaders of APNU+AFC remaining at the helm of the Environmental Protection Agency when that person is part of an entity that is seeking the removal of the political leadership of the government through an election petition?
By what argument can a case of professional strictness be applied? His immediate boss is a Cabinet minister from the PPP. His ultimate boss is the president. What relation can they have when he is part of the leadership of APNU+AFC that wants the PPP administration removed? This is really mixed up moral values that Adams and his backers need to explain.
(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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