Photo : Dr. Vishnu Bisram
An opinion poll being conducted by the North American Caribbean Teachers Association (NACTA) finds that Guyanese are deeply concerned that the next general elections due in mid 2020 will be rigged by the ruling PNC led government unless there is international supervision and monitoring of the voters list and the voting itself. A large majority of voters worry that the next general elections will be rigged to prevent a PPP or a Bharrat Jagdeo victory. The PNC rigged every election in Guyana post independence during the period of the dictatorship (1966 to 1992). The first free and fair elections resulted in the defeat of the PNC by the PPP.
According to the poll findings, voters cite several pieces of evidence to support their fears of planned rigging including what they claim are bogus birth certificates, changing birth dates of supporters to give them voting age eligibility, registration of overseas based supporters of the PNC including opening the voter registration process on Mashramani carnival day (a national holiday) to accommodate visiting overseas supporters of the PNC, encouraging Haitians and other Caribbean nationals to settle in Guyana, government’s violation of the agreement (to select a nominee of the Opposition Leader) on appointment of the Chair of the elections commission by selecting an aging former Judge who is an advisor to the government.
The poll was conducted by reputed New York based pollster Dr. Vishnu Bisram in early April.
Asked if the next general elections will be free and fair (FFE), some 62% said no as opposed to 31% who said yes and 7% not having an opinion. Asked to offer recommendations on securing a free and fair elections, among the responses were: UN supervision of the elections, local and foreign observers affiliated with International Organizations as well as Non-Governmental Organizations including Human Rights Watch, Freedom Watch, Americas Watch, Carter Center, Caricom, OAS, Commonwealth, OAU, SAARC, UNASUR, US Congress, other governments, biometric registration, a clean voters' list, etc.