Guyanese want an expeditious declaration of the results of the March 2 election now that the recount and tabulation of the ballots have been completed. Guyanese and other Caribbean people I have spoken with in the diaspora and in Guyana are urging closure to the election process. Some seven hundred thousands Guyanese and their descendants reside in the US and keenly follow electoral developments at home. A declaration is yet to be made after three months since the election was held.
The recount of some 465K ballots ended Sunday after 34 days of painstakingly checking each ballot. The final tabulation shows the opposition PPP defeating the incumbent by some 15,416 votes. In terms of seats, it translates into 33 for PPP, 30 for APNU, 1 for a small party and one undecided based on the largest remaining fraction. A parliamentary majority is 33 seats. An opinion poll I conducted before election day gave the PPP 34 seats and 30 to APNU with 1 for the minority parties combined.
The Guyanese I interacted with are showering lavish praises on the elections commission (Gecom) Chair Claudette Singh and President Granger on facilitating the completion of the recount exercise and the certification (tabulation) of the SORs. The duo have kept their word so far on the recount and have earned the gratitude of the Guyanese nation at home and abroad. Albeit, there is a small amount of holdouts by hardliners in the ruling APNU-led coalition but every supporter of the junior partner, AFC, has supported the recount process. The AFCites, like most APNUites have also given their endorsement of the recount being used for the declaration of the election that has been delayed by over three months. Some APNUites eeek to void the election claiming anomalies. Everyone is now looking forward for the finale – declaration.
As noted, the Chair faced insurmountable challenges in undertaking and concluding the recount and the President was opposed by several hardliners within the inner circle of the PNC for agreeing to a recount. There was a strong push back against the recount but the President ignored dissenters. There were even threats. Voters were on edge on whether the process would be completed. But the Chair and President were determined to allow its completion. They both received overwhelming support for the position adopted on the recount. And people are also praiseworthy of the statements by the President that he would accept the declaration of the Chair in whom the President has confidence to honor the tabulation of the recount.
I now read of a push back against the results of the recount. Guyanese say they don’t think the President or the Chair would entertain those dissenters. They are seen as sore losers. Three months ago they claimed victory; now they claim fraud and incredible results. The tabulation of SORs is almost identical with the original SOPS in the hands of agents of parties and observers and as posted on the walls of the places of polling. Thus, talk of anomalies or fraud has no basis or grounding at this time. Political actors must stop fooling supporters, accept the inevitable, bring healing, and start rebuilding party. Information in the rumor mill is that renegades are clandestinely engaging in acts to derail the closure of the process. Many don’t believe this is true; they say the President would stand up against those elements bent in subverting democracy. The President would not want to compromise the standing he has earned in Caricom and his achievement over the last five years. The actions of the PNC hardliners have already created a rift in the President’s family some of who supported the recount and using it to declare the outcome. Surely, he would not want his legacy to be the widening of the rift in the larger Guyanese “family” by pandering to the former’s intransigence, even at this late stage.
The people of Guyana and those in the diaspora want to move on from this election exercise. People look forward to the Chair bringing the election process to a quick closure. And they have faith in the President accepting the Chair’s declaration.
The two have a legacy to preserve. Having presided over what observers are say is perhaps “the fairest and freest” election in post-independent Guyana, the Chair would go down in history as person who saved democracy. And the President would be seen as the protector of the outcome of a democratic election.
Both the president must be commended to keep their word and they should instruct GECOM CEO to expeditiously prepare the report for Gecom which must move expeditiously to bring closure and swear in the President.