Kaieteur News – If we are going to look back at the disastrous March 2020 election, we have to start on March 4, two days after voting on March 2. It was on this day that the world began to see the evidence of a conspiracy to rig the election. It began with instructions given, I believe, to GECOM Secretariat by the PNC and AFC leaders.
Since only one more, of the 10 Regions, was left to be counted, the Region Four Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo, became the operative mechanism. I cannot comment on Mingo’s criminal trial because of the sub judice principle but that restriction cannot preclude me from saying that I believe his arrest and subsequent charge is justified. I hope he faces a judge and jury. The same feeling I have on the criminal procedures against Deputy Chief Elections Officer, Roxanne Myers and Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield.
I spent most of the morning and afternoon sessions of March 4 in the studio of Kaieteur Radio. It was through the guests that we invited and KN journalists who were covering the blatant fraud at the GECOM command centre, that I knew Guyana was about to return to 1968 when it experienced its first Draculean smothering of the destruction of the right to vote.
There were people coming in and out of the studio and a definitive air of impending national disaster filled my mind. All the talk of those people coming in and going out the studio was about election disaster. There was relentless discussion of the irregularities, anomalies, inexplicabilities of what was taking place at the command centre and everybody was talking about Claudette Singh, but I hardly paid attention.
I was not conscious of all the things being said around me in the studio because my mind was elsewhere. I was overcome with swirling thoughts of Guyana being a pariah in the world once more. I remember Adam Harris and Glenn Lall were in a deep argument over what role the observers should play, with Harris clinging tenaciously to the narrative of Vincent Alexander that all observers could and should do, was simply observe and nothing more.
I remember Alexander cited the part of the law that confined them to just observer status to which Harris agreed. But Mr. Lall called Sase Gunraj over the phone to ask for an interpretation of that particular section of the law. Gunraj took the opposite position arguing that nowhere in the law it spells out that observers must just sit and watch.
When all of this was happening in the studio, I was maudlin. I remember as Mr. Lall and Adam Harris argued, I went outside because my soul could not endure the thoughts of another rigged election. Rigged election tormented all of my youthful days. It was around midday and I left for home. On my way, Leonard Gildarie called my cell and asked me to return to the studio.
I remember Gildarie’s words vividly. He urged me to return saying that I owe the Guyanese people the obligation to inform them. My heart could not be filled with pessimistic visions. I was proud of my political activism since I was 16. My heart told me to turn the car around and go back. I went back to the station and stayed for almost three weeks each day.
March 4, 2020 will stay with me until my time on earth is spent. I knew on that day, my soul will never rest in peace if I did not fight once more for free and fair elections. From March 4 until Dr. Irfaan Ali was rightfully sworn in as president on August 2, I dedicated a daily column to what Gildarie said was my obligation to the Guyanese people.
On voting day, March 2, I honestly didn’t care who won. I knew it would be better to have a third party or some small parties put a brake on either a PPP or PNC government. I felt that so many of us, East Indians and Africans owe the Amerindian people. We came here and met them and did far better than them. For me the logical choice was to vote for the Amerindian party led by an Amerindian gentleman. I voted for Lenox Shuman.
On March 4, Clairmont Mingo changed everything. March 4 has gone by one year now and my life has changed for the better. March 4 showed me aspects of the human that I would never have seen. I have received tons of abuse from people who accused me of bringing back the PPP. I didn’t bring back the PPP. I followed my heart and the heart has its reasons.
(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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