Guyanese patiently waited five months for a declaration of the correct outcome of general election held on March 2. They were happy to see the back of the coalition that governed Guyana for some seventeen months beyond its term in office of March 2019. Euphoric celebrations swept across New York over the week after the swearing in as Guyanese Americans held small ‘victory get together’ at parks, social clubs or bars or rum shops, backyards, offices, homes, mandirs, and elsewhere. There has been widespread enthusiasm among Guyanese for the change in government. There was a sigh of relief reminiscent of what occurred in October 1992 when free and fair election was restored to the country. Some described the feeling comparing it with the anti-Indian racist dictator Forbes Burnham in August 1985.The coalition, led by the PNC, was toppled in a no confidence motion on December 21, 2018 requiring elections by March 2019, but it did not call an election till March 2020, a year after it was due and holding on to power a further five months through fraudulent manipulation. Every Guyanese, in and out of Guyana, even Caribbean people in America and throughout the region, was in some kind of victory spirit following the August 2 declaration that democracy had returned to Guyana and the PPP was officially declared the winner. Many Trinis joined Guyanese in celebrations in New York. There was joy of relief from August 2 evening when the ‘shocking’ news came that Granger conceded defeat and Dr. Irfaan Ali was sworn in as President. That Sunday evening and days after, there were joyful reactions and a sigh of relief that the struggle for the ballot was all over. And this past weekend Guyanese Americans wanted to celebrate the occasion that the PPPC party and nation had won, and they gathered in small numbers at various locations to take in the sight at he Cultural Center as well as to be part of some kind of celebration of the victory (triumph of democracy).
Guyanese would never forget that experience-five long months to declare an election that should have taken a mere five hours. They tuned in on social media on Sunday August 2 to watch the swearing in and on Saturday August 8 to see the inauguration proceedings after which they engaged in receptions (food, beverage, loud music). Dr Irfaan clearly communicated his vision for they country. It was a most brilliant speech; the best in my view that he delivered. The pitch and body language was spot on as was the contents. His remark to enlist the diaspora in the rebuilding work was cheered.
Victory parties continued on Sunday afternoon at barbecues. And earlier in the day, at the mandirs I visited, people were in celebratory mood expressing their happiness that justice was finally served. Pandits referenced the electoral victory to the ancient scriptures.
Almost every Guyanese followed developments in Guyana on a daily basis since the passage of the no confidence motion in December 2018. They were disheartened that the coalition refused to accept the result of the NCM and violated democratic principles. They were further disappointed when the regime refused to accept the outcome of the free and fair vote that all observers and opposition parties stated that the PPP won. Intervention from the international community led to the acceptance of the electoral true verdict.
Everywhere I visited on Saturday and on Sunday interacting with celebrants and in conversations with hundreds of Guyanese over the last week, there were praises for President Ali, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, Attorney General Anil Nandlall, among others, who were in the forefront in the struggle for the ballot and the historic achievement of August 2. Laudatory remarks were uttered about the monumental struggle waged by Jagdeo and Nandlall; Guyanese Americans see them as heroes. Their struggle is seen as iconic by Guyanese. “Dem boys get belly fo fight. Nobody nah fight like dem. Dem propa fight”. They describe Anil as the most brilliant legal mind and the most articulate in Guyana. Media persons like Freddie, Neil Marks, Chris Ram, and this writer, among others were also praised for their role in exposing the electoral fraud and calling on the government to accept the will of the voters. The independent media was also recognized for its contributions. Without the exposure of the fraud in the media houses, and appeals to the international community as this writer repeatedly did, the regime would have gotten away with the fraud. Guyanese Americans say that those who assisted in defending the ballots must be offered a constructive role in the development of the country.
Guyanese Americans also express gratitude and appreciation to their Ambassador Sarah Lynch and the Ambassadors of the BCE countries for the role they played in protecting the ballot. Guyanese Americans are most grateful and proud of the work of Sarah Lynch. She is a heroine among Guyanese; not since Ambassador George Jones in 1992 has an American diplomat stood out more in defending the will of Guyanese voters and in championing democracy in Guyana. Great praises also went out to the Canadian, the British and European Ambassadors as well as Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, Owen Arthur, and Bruce Golding. Many condole the passing of Mr. Arthur who they describe as a champion of democracy in Guyana.
Every Guyanese (100%) with whom I spoke (in person and on the phone) were enraptured, pleased, and overjoyed with the outcome. They expressed words of joy, happiness, and delight that the PPPC won. They expect great things to happen in their country. They are very upbeat about the future. They pledged their support to the new government. They are confident that the PPP will serve the country well. But at events I attended, several speakers appealed to the PPP leadership not to repeat mistakes made when it was in office and to listen to the views of the public. Many say they would visit when the airport opens and flight resumes. Some even talked of returning and settling in Guyana. Great moment for Guyanese who will be treated equally by the government after five years of marginalization and victimization. They are very upbeat about the future. They say the hard work of nation building begins.
They pledged their support to the new government. But though very supportive of the PPP, not everyone is pleased with the Ministerial appointments. Questions wee raised about selection for Ministries; some say there was a mismatch – meaning individuals would be better served in other ministries to match their skills. They say the best person must be selected for a task. They feel Charles Ramson should be in oil and gas although some feel experts should be hired for that field. And almost everyone queried the exclusion of Mr. Seeraj in agriculture. But one person said not everyone can be a Minister although they say Seeraj and some other party stalwarts deserve Ministerial positions because of their commitment, dedication, competence, and service to the party. People wished the youthful Ministers well and think the inexperienced Ministers would learn their job very fast and handle their task with competence and integrity.Guyanese are very pleased that the PPP has returned to office. They are confident that the PPP will serve the country well. But at events I attended, several speakers appealed to the PPP leadership not to repeat mistakes made when it was in office and to listen to the views of the public. Many say they would visit when the airport opens and flight resumes. Some even talked of returning and settling in Guyana. They see hope now that Guyanese can achieve their dream.