Kaieteur News – Any Guyanese whether in Iceland, Greenland or Afghanistan that followed the insurrection on Capitol Hill in the US and who knew what happened in Guyana between March and July in 2020 would have invoked memories of Claudette Singh.
First, there were the words of the Republican Senate majority leader, Mitch Mc Connell. Addressing the Senate, he remarked that the people who want to overturn the election results are the losers. Immediately your mind would have turned to Guyana. Only the entity named APNU+AFC described the election as being rigged.
Attached to the PNC were surrogates like Lincoln Lewis, Eusi Kwayana, Dr. Mellissa Ifill of UG and others who viewed the election results with racial lenses. No civil society organization, no opposition party, no foreign government, no foreign law-maker, no one from any international organization – major or minor – supported the lyrics of tampering by the PPP in the 2020 election here.
Mc Connell, though being a supporter of Trump was conscientious enough to remark that it was the loser that wanted the result changed. In this regard, the election ambience in the US resembled that of Guyana’s. Enter, Vice President Pence. After the storming of Capitol Hill while members of both houses were counting the ballots of the Electoral College, the counting resumed and Mr. Pence did what we in Guyana expected Claudette Singh to do.
Pence addressing US lawmakers endorsed the election of Joe Biden as the winner. In Guyana, it took a different turn. We all know the shape events took after March 4 with Singh remaining aloof from the illegalities that the GECOM Secretariat was committing. Pence did not leave to come back. He stayed on Capitol Hill and continued the counting. Of course, he could have sabotaged the process by offering some excuse for leaving.
Here is where Pence stood tall and his deportment must be contrasted with Singh. At the point where the Chief Justice had compelled Mingo to tabulate the Region Four results using the actual statements of poll (SOPs), Singh had her opportunity to stop him. The time to intervene came on Friday, March 13 at GECOM’s head office in Kingston. Mingo had again used fictional numbers not corresponding to the SOPs.
The international observers were there on Friday, March 13 and they witnessed the continuation of Mingo’s pantomime. The next day, Singh should have convened a meeting of GECOM, replace Mingo, continue the Region Four votes and the next day, Sunday , March 14 GECOM should have made a declaration of the results using the official SOPs.
The insurrection on Capitol Hill did not deter Pence. At no point from Wednesday, March 4, did Singh intervene. In the US, democracy was saved by the unadulterated integrity of Pence. This is what we expected from Singh, long before the Court of Appeal upheld the decision that the CARICOM observed recount was the basis on which a declaration could be made.
There is a crucial nuance in the comparison between Singh and Pence. Pence is a Republican politician and President Trump’s Vice President. He could have accepted Trump’s silly exclamation that the US election was tampered with. Singh on the other hand, was supposed to be an objective, independent agent. Yet her action was questionable from March until the end of June.
Pence saved America’s democracy. It was the rule of law that saved Guyana’s democracy bringing into sharp focus the role of Singh. After the Caribbean Court of Appeal ruled that the recount was valid, the APNU+AFC descended to abysmal level of asininity by asking a lower court to overturn the decision of a higher court.
The Chief Justice was definitive – the court’s time was being wasted because she could not overturn a judgement of the CCJ. More asininities followed when the Chief Justice’s ruling that the lower court cannot act was appealed. Guyana’s second highest court then brought the election impasse to an end by upholding the Chief Justice’s judgement.
Looking back then at Guyana’s election circus and comparing it to how Vice President Pence acted hours after insurrectionists occupied Capitol Hill, the role of Singh is laid bare. In looking back at 2020, I had intended to do an entire column on Singh. But this comparison with Vice President Pence should suffice.
As the days unfold in the US and the commentaries and analyses intensify on the role of the mobs that captured Capitol Hill for almost an hour, Guyanese all over will reflect on the five-month-old madness that overtook this country, a burst of dangerous insanity that only one person could have prevented – Madam Claudette Singh.
(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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