Max Mohammed writing in Guyana Chronicle (Jul 5) errs in law on Guyana elections. Max spent a few years joining a few of us during the early 1980s in combating Burnhamism and electoral fraud and ought to know better. He was among the founders of the URP that was initiated by Vishnu Bandhu and others. Claudette Singh is right to reject the Lowenfield report that disenfranchise voters. Max seems supportive of the Lowenfield rigging of disenfranchising over 115K votes without due process. Max misunderstands the law on elections. Lowenfield and Gecom have no powers to investigate complaints or allegations on electoral fraud after election day. Lowenfield has no powers to disenfranchise voters. He simply has to prepare a report based on a count or recount as instructed by the chair. He has no other power. And Gecom is not clothed with the powers of a court to look into fraudulent voting as the chair rightly sworn in an affidavit. Complaints of fraud should have been filed and investigated on election day to deter fraud. Once the election is completed and ballots counted and accepted by the Commission (Chair), complaints must be undertaken by a court.
Max is reminded that the incumbent claimed victory on March 5 and again on March 13. Now victors can’t change the narrative and claim tief men deter the victories.
Max has set sail in a world of illusion. He is actually giving life to the absurd allegations of the dead and the migrated voted on March 2. This can’t be compared with his analogy of a thief breaking into one’s home and the owner calling the police after the robbery was committed rather than during its commission. Actually, if indeed the dead and migrated voted, then the act was already committed. Now you call in the police with judicial intervention for redress.
Max should know that when someone breaks into a home, the head of the home first has to ensure that the tief man was not there to cheat on a spouse or it could be that someone had locked the spouse out of the home that has been trying to break in to gain entry. Apart from that, if a stranger indeed breaks and enters your home and begins to steal objects, the quickest way to handle the situation is either to incapacitate him or call the police. This is a case where a crime was being committed. It satisfied the three elements of a crime: motive, means and opportunity. The case with the elections is completely different. If there were attempts at electoral fraud, they must be exposed and stopped during the act of commission not four months after the fact. If Gecom (Lowenfield) failed to stop fraud during act of commission, then management failed the voters and should resign.
The claims of impersonation and dead people voting are mere allegations. No one had saw a dead person voting; one party did appeal to the dead to wake up and vote. Max knows the party. And no one witnessed voter impersonation; Max knows which party has had a history of voter impersonation. No evidence wase proffered to substantiate allegations of fraud.All allegations, according to news reports, on voter fraud were debunked. The dead did not vote as happened prior to 1992; such rigging was opposed by Max himself when he was a member of the movement against fraud. Regrettably, some now seem him as a defender of rigging. Even Lowenfield admitted that under the current robust system, it’s impossible to impersonate any voter and by extension it was impossible for the dead to wake up from the cemetery and visited the polling stations to cast their ballots. If Max saw any dead, please apprise me as I want some deceased relatives to visit my home.
Max made the common mistake like Lowenfield by elevating allegations to the level of crime, when there is no credible evidence. He should know that claims of impersonation were debunked by voters coming forward and swore to affidavits that they were in Guyana and did vote. Many of them never left Guyana for any country abroad. The dead come not be awakened to swear they did not vote. Perhaps Max can convince them to rise from the grave or ashes and say they voted.
Max must also know that neither Gecom nor Lowenfield has the authority to determine that a voter committed electoral fraud. That responsibility resides in the High Court of Guyana. Gecom Chair herself stated that position. Any party with allegations must proceed to seek judicial relief via an election petition. In 2015 Donald Ramoutar alleged election irregularities. It was not Gecom’s task to investigate those matters before a declaration of the results in 2015. David Granger was sworn in as President. The PPPC filed a petition as permitted by the law. Regrettably, the petition was left to languish. Five years have passed and the case has not yet been tried. Why? Lowenfield has stymied the electoral process now. Max conveniently ignored this point.
Max should ask all the parties to submit their SOPs that they received on March 2 for cross references. He would have recognized that those SOPs and the SORs were almost the same as confirmed by Caricom monitors and observers. Max is pretending otherwise. One must not suppress or distort findings of the Caricom high level team that speaks to the credibility of the recount process. Granger say that Caricom was the most legitimate interlocutor, although he has regrettably backpedaled. The Caricom team said that those making allegations were on a fishing expedition, adding that the results formed the basis for a declaration of the results.
Max deliberately ignored Mingo’s voter tabulation fraud on March 5, 2020 which was the most transparent rigging ever to have happened in Guyana and perhaps the world. He also failed to acknowledge the greater fraud perpetrated by Lowenfield on June 23, 2020 when he disenfranchised 115, 844 voters. Those voters took time, effort and sacrifice to cast their votes and followed all the rules that were overseen by observer teams and political parties. Yet one man, without any authority or right, arbitrarily decided to rob 15,844 voters who properly and legally exercised their franchise. If there were problems, Lowenfield was the one who was not diligent in executing his duties on March 2. He ought to resign from the job.
Max is engaged in sideshows and diverting attention from Mingo’s and Lowenfield’s massive fraud, trying to replace that with disingenuous information and political propaganda.
Belching out a set of polemics and political platitudes to cover a most brutal, naked and vicious electoral fraud perpetrated by Gecom in collusion with PNCR, is even more cruel that the fraud itself. One truth about this election is the recount was legal and credible. No amount of changing narratives and sideshows can alter this reality. I call on my brother to rejoin the movement against electoral fraud.
Dr. Vishnu Bisram