Kaieteur News – To speak about democratic elections and the PNC/R in the same breath is a contradiction. The PNC/R has demonstrated its aversion to democracy and its tendency to gain political office through crooked means.
The party’s record of electoral infractions and undemocratic rule effectively disqualifies it from participating in any future democratic election. The issue therefore is not about who is best suited to lead the PNC/R into the next elections; the PNC/R should not be allowed ever again to participate in any future election.
The PNC/R cannot be trusted to act in a manner which is consistent with participation in democratic elections. It has proven that it belongs outside of the democratic family.
The PNC/R has a sordid record of electoral malpractice. It rigged the 1968, 1973, 1980 and 1985 elections and attempted to benefit from attempts to rig the 2020 elections.
In each of those successive elections, the rigging became more glaring, brazen and barefaced. Peter D’Aguiar, a former ally of the PNC, said this about the 1968 elections: “To call it an election is to give it a name it does not deserve; it was a seizure of power by fraud, not election.”
The 1973 elections were branded as “fairy tale elections”. The British Parliamentary Group of Observers described the 1980 elections as being more “crooked than barbed wire.”
The PNC/R also distorted the 1978 referendum which gave it power to change the Constitution without resort of the people’s consent via a referendum.
That led to the establishment of an Executive Presidency and the deepening of authoritarian rule which reached its apogee when it was forced to pass a law to overrule a court decision. It also led to a spate of human rights violations.
A section of the PNC/R, one of whose leaders is still alive and kicking, attempted to abort the 1992 elections and included stoning the then office of the Guyana Elections Commission on Croal Street and by rioting, looting and committing arson in the streets even before the official results had been declared.
It went on similar rampages after its loss in 1997, almost bringing the country to its knees and it is no coincidence that politics and criminality came together in a toxic brew after the 2001 elections. Since 1992, the PNC/R has never conceded in an election, which it lost and it never will.
The PNC/R is not committed to constitutional rule. It only accepts its understanding of the Constitution. Following the no-confidence motion in December of 2018, the PNC/R trampled upon the Constitution, rewrote the Mathematics textbook and gave the world a lesson in how to prevaricate in holding elections.
The PNC/R supported some dubious challenges to the March 2020 elections. Guyana was turned into an international laughing stock by those who were prepared to hang on to power on the flimsiest of threads.
The PNC/R cannot be reformed. It is beyond political redemption. It had enough time, including five years in office to demonstrate it had put its sordid past behind it.
It failed to do so and in fact, its actions confirmed that it was prepared to be returned to power through electoral skulduggery.
Oil and water do not mix. You do not invite the devil into a church; you do not invite thief men into a police conference. So why would anyone want to have a party with an established track record of electoral rigging to participate in democratic elections? Democracy and the PNC/R simply are not compatible.
There have been calls for electoral reform. These reforms are aimed at strengthening the electoral system to ensure that it is foolproof from rigging. One columnist has even proposed that the laws be made unambiguous to ensure that the valid votes are those, which are certified by the Presiding Officer. Not even that can stop the shenanigans of the PNC/R. It is quite capable of organising for a significant number of presiding officers to invalidate large numbers of votes.
An old lady once remarked that “Burnham made Satan cry.” There is no system which can be implemented which can be made foolproof against electoral rigging by the PNC/R.
There is only one type of electoral reform, which has to be implemented. There should be a Commission of Inquiry into the 2020 elections and the findings of that inquiry used as a basis to permanently debar undemocratic forces from participating in any future elections.
If democracy is to have any chance of survival in Guyana, the PNC/R cannot be allowed to participate. Never ever again!
(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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