Kaieteur News – If any scholar can argue in any forum anywhere in the world that foreign people did not play immense and crucial roles in the defeat of rigged elections last year, then something eerie is wrong with their academic competence.
Do you know the factual election results were made possible because of the professionalism and objectivity of three foreign persons – the three CARICOM officials who observed the recount and submitted a report that was objective and honest?
Here is my inflexible contestation – if there wasn’t the CARICOM recount observer team and only locally based Guyanese had to recount and give their final verdict, I think here in February 2021 Guyana would still be in a raging election controversy without an elected government.
I don’t want to keep carping on Claudette Singh, Roxanne Myers, Keith Lowenfield and Clairmont Mingo. I have written voluminously on them. All of them are Guyanese based in Guyana. Look what happened? Singh for five months was the recipient of sustained inflamed criticism. Myers, Mingo, Lowenfield and other GECOM Secretariat employees have been charged with criminal offences, a direction unheard of in any democratic state.
There are two very crucial factors the legislators must take into consideration when the elections laws are being changed. One is that elections pit Guyanese against each other on the basis of ethnicity. Few Guyanese are exempted from this feeling. What happens then is that contesting parties do not trust the people who conduct the elections.
Look at the record – election controversy of an intense nature occurred in 1992, 1997, 2001 and 2020. That is four out of six elections since the demise of election rigging by Presidents Burnham and Hoyte. The other factor is that the 2020 election drama has deepened ethnic feelings in this country thus deepening the suspicion of the citizenry about GECOM employees. What the work of the CARICOM, OAS and international observer delegation showed, is that outsiders bring an objective, professional attitude to their work in Guyana and show no emotional attachment to the contestants.
The proof of this lies in two areas. One is that all of the CARICOM leaders ignored the suggestion by the local chapter of the International Year for the People of African Descent to put the election results on the backburner and seek political and ethnic reconciliation in Guyana. They didn’t involve themselves in Guyana’s conflict, but were only interested in elections that meet international standards.
The second area is that the three-member CARICOM recount team consisted of African people and in the midst of dangerous racial accusations; they were not swayed by the fetidness of the Guyanese boxing ring. Against this mountainous evidence of foreign people just not interested in the nastiness of the political narratives in this country, it would be extremely wise to refashion the election laws to allow foreign people to be the chairperson and commissioners of GECOM.
There are going to be objections to this from people with a silly and misplaced sense of nationalism. They are stupidly and irrationally going to exclaim that foreigners are now running our elections without understanding context. These people should be ignored with contempt. Foreigners saved Guyana and this explains why each day without exception, thousands of young people are enjoying societal calmness by flocking in huge numbers to the seawall, the National Park and places of entertainment.
Had we not have those decent foreigners’ help us, Guyana would still be in the throes of a raging political war. We have five years to get GECOM right. We have five years to ensure that election results do not take five months. We have five years to make sure there isn’t a GECOM chair who behaves like Claudette Singh. We have five years to make sure that GECOM is not staffed by people like Myers, Mingo, Lowenfield and others.
Why would any sane, logically thinking Guyanese reject respected international actors from manning GECOM? What would they be afraid of? Why would these people rig the election in favour of the PPP? Why would they choose the PNC over the PPP? It means that they do not want an election ambience free from fear, free and fair. It means that their mental shape is to create confusion.
It means that they want to rely on Guyanese to run the election so we can have a repeat of 2020, meaning that one can be accused of being a racially biased Indian in GECOM and a racially biased African in GECOM. I am suggesting that we can avoid another 2020 disaster if we let international personnel administer GECOM. The alternative will be a continuation of a miserable life.
(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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