Feb 27, 2021 Letters
This has reference to your news report (February 23) on US President Joe Biden felicitating President Ali and the Guyanese nation on the occasion of republic day. The US President, world leaders, and diplomats may not be familiar that the Guyanese nation did not support republican status for the country. It was a unilateral move by the dictator Forbes Burnham.
Guyanese and the international community need to be reminded of the background or context of Guyana becoming a republic and that the nation was not fully behind the move. World leaders, perhaps even diplomats posted in Guyana, and most Guyanese in Guyana and the diaspora may not be familiar that Guyana was not a democracy after independence in May 1966 and Republican status was not legitimately obtained or supported by the majority of the population.
More than half of the nation had opposed Republican status for Guyana in 1970 because the ruthless dictator Forbes Burnham used his rigged two-thirds majority (from the 1968 fraudulent elections) to amend the democratic British-imposed independence constitution of 1966. Burnham wanted to break all links with England so that the Queen, who was head of state, would not exercise constitutional restraints (through the Governor) over his authoritarian rule. The opposition opposed the move for republican status but lacked effective means to stop it.
Burnham’s party had secured 42 percent at the elections in December 1964 and there was a steady erosion of support by 1968 because of widespread corruption and mis-governance. His party would have secured less than 40 percent support at the 1968 elections as reported by the international media. So Burnham set up the mechanism to rig the elections. He claimed a whopping 68 percent victory at the 1968 polls. It was well established by researchers and published in the international press that Burnham rigged the 1968 elections through postal and overseas voting.
Using the results of electoral fraud to make a break with England and the Queen was highly undemocratic and not an occasion to celebrate. Burnham had also terminated all appeals to the London based independent British Privy Council, the final court of appeal for Guyana, presided over by esteemed Lords. Thus, challenges to the 1968 election fraud and amendments to the constitution were not possible. Guyana descended downhill into a totalitarian dictatorship. Burnham went on to use electoral fraud to create an executive Presidency in December 1980 that was also opposed by more than three quarters of the nation. Guyanese Americans lobbied the US government to help restore democracy in their former homeland. This led to the country’s first democratic elections in October 1992 resulting in Cheddi Jagan as President. He was succeeded by Sam Hinds, Janet Jagan, Bharrat Jagdeo, Donald Ramotar, David Granger, and now Irfaan Ali.
Regrettably, when democracy returned in October 1992, the status was not amended to return to the original position of 1966 when Guyana was closely affiliated with the British Crown that would have served the interests of the nation.
It would be recalled that every effort was made to rig the March 2020 elections that was opposed by the US Administration and the world community. Several patriotic Guyanese, myself included, living in America played leading roles to help secure the right outcome of the March 2020 elections. Several of us with close connections in the US State Department, with Members of Congress, and the US Embassy in Georgetown lobbied behind the scenes and succeeded in getting pressure put on the APNU-led coalition to accept the will of the voters. I appealed to Indian American organizations and individuals who are very close to Members of Congress and the Trump Administration to save democracy in Guyana. In addition, community advocate, Dr. Tara Singh, and myself made phone calls and or penned several letters requesting intervention from Members of Congress and other powerful forces to protect electoral gains. Several issued statements.
US Ambassador Sarah Lynch aggressively demanded that the votes be accurately counted and the right winner declared. Secretary Mike Pompeo, Asst. Secy Mike Kozak, Ambassador Lynch, and others saved democracy in Guyana. Had the riggers succeeded, Guyana would have descended into another dictatorship. For security reasons, others who played meaningful role against electoral fraud in 2020 requested that their names not be revealed.
The Guyanese people are grateful for the role that the US has played in the affairs of Guyana and helping to secure democratic outcomes, especially in the 2020 elections. They thank the US President for his warm felicitation.
Dr. Vishnu Bisram
Apr 12, 2021By Franklin Wilson With mixed results had in the first window of the Concacaf leg of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifying last month, Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Senior Men’s National Team...
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – Officials of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]