Kaieteur News – The kid, who, upon being given out, ends the game by picking up and walking away with his bat and ball, is not at all an unusual occurrence. Any person who spent hours playing ‘bat and ball’ would have encountered such an experience at one time or the other.
The refusal to accept his dismissal is considered as cheating. Picking up his bat and ball ends the game.
Democracy is not a game of bat and ball. But the parallels are no different. The cheat decides that he cannot accept the decision and so he attempts to quash the entire game.
This is what was suggested by one leading light in the WPA during the 2020 elections. He entered the contest as a candidate for one side. When he did so, he did not express the view that the elections would have been divisive. But no sooner did the side, to which he belonged, lost the elections, he decided that it was time to scrap the contest – throw away the ballots and negotiate a result.
But if his party had won the elections, there would have been no need for scrapping the elections. In other words, the elections would only have credibility if the results were in his side’s favour.
The APNU+AFC have gifted Irfaan Ali a third term. Given what the APNU+AFC did, it is not likely that the PNCR or the AFC or what remains of the WPA is ever going to be trusted again with political power. The suggestion of throwing away is no different from saying that the only result, which matters, is a victory for one side. It turns elections into a one-way contest.
There was a time when the PNC, later named the PNCR, felt that the country’s demographics were involved in a permanent conspiracy against it. Given the dominance of ethnic voting, the party felt that free and fair elections effectively meant one-party rule.
But a country’s demographics do not remain constant. And Guyana’s demography was changing all the time, so much so that by 2011, the PPP/C could no longer count on its core support to deliver a majority. As a consequence, the country for the first time in its history had a minority government in 2011. The demographic shift, coupled with Jagdeo’s misrule had handed the APNU and the AFC a passport to the political office.
Elections were no longer an ethnic census. The APNU+AFC coalition took advantage and won political office in 2015 through free and fair elections. It was elections – free and fair – that gave the PNCR and the AFC the chance of gaining power.
And when these parties got into office, they seemed to have forgotten that they needed to retain the support, which had swept them to victory in 2015. Granger tried his best but he was surrounded by political hounds who were clueless.
The economy was badly handled with taxes being heaped upon the people. Instead of jobs, people were told to make plantain chips. Political vendettas extended to sugar workers. The AFC, which was supposed to be a counterbalance to any excessive tendencies of the PNCR, turned into a footstool of the latter, to the point where it had to drink its own vomit.
By election night, the PNCR was in such a domineering position that the PNCR and the AFC had different command centres.
There were persons at the PNCR Elections Command Centre who were there all night monitoring the returns from the polling stations. By morning, they had to have known that they had lost the elections. But because there were separate command centres, two different narratives emerged: the PNCR said the Coalition had won the elections; the AFC claimed the Russians had rigged the elections.
The PNCR met with its impatient supporters outside of the centre and thanked them, thereby causing these supporters to believe that the party had won the elections. Celebrations erupted in PNCR strongholds. But it was clear by then that the Coalition had not won the elections.
And so like the child who picks up his bat and ball and brings an end to the game, the Coalition tried to do the same with the elections through a spreadsheet and then a bed sheet. When that failed, it tried to end the game through electoral challenges so that the fake results would stand.
The attempts at ending the game went on. At one point, the PNCR gambled and lost. It felt that the CARICOM Report would provide the ammunition to annul the elections. It actually believed that the Report would come to its rescue. The report sunk the Coalition when it described the objections, which were being made during the Recount as a fishing expedition.
By its actions over a five-month period, the PNCR has poisoned its political chalice. It has now virtually given the Irfaan Ali administration an almost automatic victory in 2025. The PNCR and the AFC can never again be trusted with following the rules of electoral game.
No matter if these parties come with a new bat and a new ball, these parties should not be welcome. They are not to be trusted. They have disgraced and morally disqualified themselves as participants in any democratic process.
(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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