Over 6,000 Guyanese have rallied and concluded that enough is enough, and they have therefore moved to sign a petition seeking the United States’ assistance in imposing personal sanctions on identified PNC-AFC and Gecom operatives. This is an option that Guyanese never wanted but the shenanigans of PNCR in collusion with Gecom has forced Guyanese to take this necessary action. The petition was scheduled for delivery to the US Ambassador on April 27, 2020 at 11:30am. A copy would also be delivered simultaneously to the US Secretary of State. Guyanese also ask for the invocation of Resolution 1080 of the OAS Charter.
Guyanese’ patience and fortitude have been tested and even stretched to the limit by Gecom and PNCR. These two organizations have continually demonstrated a reluctance to bring an end to the March 2, 2020 election saga. Over 7 weeks have elapsed since polling day and yet there is no valid declaration as to which political party won the elections, although the Gecom-issued and signed SOPs clearly show that the winner is the PPPC which secured 15,000 more votes than the PNCR coalition. This intransigence by the PNCR and Gecom has caused the nation to hemorrhage.
This wound which the PNCR and Gecom has inflicted upon the nation’s psyche has been captured by US Assistant Secretary of State, Michael Kozak at a press conference on April 24, 2020. Ambassador Kozak poignantly notes: “Finally, it has been more than seven weeks since Guyana’s elections. There has been still no credible outcome. The Guyana Elections Commission has a preliminary work plan for a recount but has not issued a timeline. We remain gravely concerned that so much time has passed without a credible result. Further delays violate the Guyanese people’s rights to a transparent, credible, and timely electoral process.” The US Secretary of State, Hon Mike Pompeo has expressed similar concerns on separate occasions.
Elections results should have been declared by March 17, 2020, the latest. Today marks 56 days after Election Day (March 2nd) and the end is as elusive as before, with calculated hurdles being thrown by Gecom and the PNCR in its way. Guyanese are fearful that this charade will continue for an indefinite amount of time, unless some remedial measures are adopted swiftly.
The brazen attempt at a coup d’etat executed by Gecom Secretariat in collusion with PNCR in the full view of the world at the Ashmin’s building (Gecom Command Center) and later at Gecom Headquarters has been forcefully condemned by the opposition political parties, the local and international observer groups, the diplomatic community, and by journalists. They insisted that the tabulation process for Region 4 was not credible as well as not transparent. They witnessed in astonishment how the Gecom’s Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo pronounced fictitious figures from a pre-filled spreadsheet instead of the statutory signed Statement of Polls (SOPs).
The PPPC, along with all political parties, including the PNCR, plus the observer groups and diplomatic community, have received copies of the Gecom-issued SOPs for all 10 electoral regions. The PPPC posted the SOPs on their website. The authenticity of these SOPs was never challenged by the PNCR. In addition, the PNCR has refused to publish their identical copies of Gecom-issued SOPs. And a previous attempt by the PPPC to get Gecom to produce the original region 4 SOPs was denied by the High Court. This was a strange ruling because SOPs are public documents. A more recent effort to release Region 4 SOPs was made by the PPPC on April 24, 2020 but their motion was voted down by the Chair at Gecom’s meeting.
In a dossier compiled by the PNCR-Government and submitted to the Washington sanction-busting firm JJ & B LLC, it was stated falsely that the PNCR coalition won the elections. They did not produce the signed copies of the SOPs to support their outlandish claim. If they had won the elections, why didn’t they install David Granger but allow instead a record-breaking 7 weeks to follow without a resolution on the election results? The installation of Granger wouldn’t have been difficult for them (PNCRites) since they exercise full control over all state agencies, including Gecom.
It is because of the intense public, diplomatic, and international pressures that Gecom has agreed to recount the votes for all 10 regions, which means in effect that the PNCR’s claim to victory is misleading. Gecom has been warned by the ABCE countries, as well as, the OAS and Commonwealth that the tabulation process for Region 4 (the last region to be tabulated in accordance with the prescribed procedures) not credible, neither was it transparent. The PPPC has claimed that measures to secure transparency such as public streaming, and for the process to be overlooked by an Audit firm, have been rejected by the Gecom Chair. The PPPC, along with numerous groups, expresses fear, grounded in the PNCR’s shady past at electoral rigging, that Gecom’s reluctance to implement appropriate transparency measures could lead to fraud. After numerous delays occasioned by logistical issues, improvised hurdles, and the COVID-19 pandemic, civil society groups, the Private Sector Commission, among other entities, are skeptical about the recount process as proposed by Gecom Chair.
It should be noted that immediately after the close of poll on election day (March 2nd), it took less than 24 hours to count the 463,000 votes of all 10 regions). No date has been set for the beginning and the end of the recount process.
Based on frequent remarks by the PNC Commissioners and other PNCR operatives, it has become apparent to most Guyanese that this recount is likely to be sabotaged by the PNCR and its enforcement arm, Gecom Secretariat. These two groups have completely lost the confidence of the overwhelming majority of Guyanese, who are pessimistic about the outcome of the recount process.
Accordingly, thousands of Guyanese have risen from their pain and torment to sign a petition destined to the US government so that it could impose immediately personal sanctions on identified individuals associated with the caretaker government and Gecom.
The US cannot afford to have another Venezuelan-type dictatorship in the Caribbean region.
Dr Tara Singh
April 27, 2020