Jan 09, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – Six months ago, Justin Gest, a political scientist at George Mason University in the United Sates, writing in the respected journal, ‘Foreign Policy’, made the case the David Granger administration’s then three-month long attempt to defy the will of the people and collude with elements in GECOM to steal the elections was a potential portent of what the citizens of the United States could expect from the Trump administration later in the year.
“A country has reached a constitutional crisis,” wrote Gest, “The validity of its national election is in dispute… However, the chief executive refuses to concede. Instead, he accuses the opposition of stuffing ballot boxes and fraudulent voting in several electoral districts. He orders the election commission to re-count the votes and, when the initial result is confirmed, the government’s top elections officer invalidates hundreds of thousands of ballots. The incumbent declares his reelection. You could be forgiven for projecting onto this scenario your worst fears about President Donald Trump and the U.S. elections in November. Numerous pundits have played out this scenario already in the press. But this is not the United States—at least not yet.”
As the events of the past few weeks have shown, Gest’s predictions – not surprisingly to any keen observer of the politics of both countries – came through. Moving forward, it is hopeful that today’s editorial in ‘The Economist’, written about the United States and aptly titled, “The Shame and the Opportunity”, can provide some lessons for the now opposition here, these words in particular:
“Stand back from the nonsense about stolen elections, and the scale of Republicans’ failure under Mr. Trump becomes clear. Having won the White House and retained majorities in Congress in 2016, defeat in Georgia means that the party has lost it all just four years later… Normally, when a political party suffers a reverse on such a scale it learns some lessons and comes back stronger… Reinvention will be harder this time.”
The prognosis at this point, however, is not promising. In its most recent foray into inanity and senility, the current posture of Mr. Granger’s machinery is an appeal to the Joseph Biden administration to work with them to remove the PPP/C from power. This complete absurdity from the country’s leading opposition party would have to be premised on a reality in which not only is Biden going to be unaware of the internationally condemned rigging attempted by Granger but in which there was not in fact bipartisan condemnation of Granger’s anti-democratic antics by members of the US Congress. Indeed, one of the abject failures of the APNU+AFC political machinery was its efforts using the Washington lobbying firm JJ&B LLC to seek to convince US legislators to support its attempt at rigging the election, resulting in nothing more significant than a clumsy half-committal by New York Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, a man already comprised by headline participation in an APNU+AFC victory rally in 2015. In contrast, several powerful committees in both the Senate and Congress joined the US State Department in condemning the obstinate criminality that was taking place here in Guyana. If anything, considering that Biden faced his own version of Granger in Mr. Trump, the Coalition will have no friends in the new US government, particularly if they continue with the farce of claiming electoral fraud. Guyanese are still waiting for Mr. Granger to emerge from wherever he is hiding to present the Statements of Poll that he claimed to have in his possession that showed him, in keeping with Clairmont Mingo’s corrupt figures, having won last year’s elections. Additionally, now calling on Biden to remove the legitimately elected Ali administration is a complete volte-face of the Granger administration’s supposedly principled position last year that the United States needs to stay out of Guyana’s sovereign affairs.
It is therefore unclear why, in light of these very basic and glaring realities, that the People’s National Congress continues to carry on this macabre theatre of cognitive dissonance, as if we all were somehow transported over the past year back into the 1970s, the height of Burnhamite dictatorship, including virtual absolute control over the dissemination of information to the general public.
What is clear however is that with the PNC suffering from what is essentially Trumpian leadership and all its attendant pathologies under Granger, the burden of taking advantage of the opportunity for reform falls, at least in the political realm, directly to the People’s Progressive Party and the single seat joinder list. The problem is that it does not matter if the current incumbent has truly embarked on a Road to Damascus journey away from the hegemonic excesses of its own not so distant past – credible bipartisan leadership is needed to reform the political system as a whole, and this cannot be done if the Opposition continues to operate within the boundaries of the decrepit alternate reality, the tragi-comic, manic, regressive fever-dream being generated by Guyana’s own shameless Green Wizard of Oz.
Considering that her potential political allies in the Alliance For Change and whatever remains of APNU share the essential qualities of the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion, it leaves none other than PNC Chair, Volda Lawrence – provided that she survives her current stint before the court on charges of electoral fraud – to be the Dorothy that leads the Opposition and by extension its political base back to some semblance of reality. In preparation for her party’s national congress, Lawrence, who decisively won the Chair in 2018, needs to challenge Granger for the leadership on an agenda of acceptance of the will of the people and a programme for credible, not comical, opposition to the governing party.
For its part, that governing party, even as it needs to exercise zero tolerance for opportunistic attacks on the legitimacy of its mandate, has to create a framework that incorporates reasonable engagement by the political opposition for the good of all the people of Guyana. President Irfaan Ali, having secured a solid mandate for leadership, needs to be ready to transform this country’s political system to prevent the sort of shameful actions that descended upon us last year.
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