The Observer… Guyana’s march to and for Unity

THE fact that Guyana, on May 11, was able to host what was definitely successful National and Regional elections, once again testifies to the growth and development of democracy in our country. In fact, our democracy has been strengthened, echoing a sentiment of our newly sworn-in President, His Excellency David Arthur Granger, during the course of his speech at Parliament building.
But this process must be understood, beginning with the actual electoral machinery, as conducted by the much criticized Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). For all of the criticisms, perhaps not without foundation, this institution, since the managing of the prior 2011 poll, had continued to prepare for the eventuality of another franchise exercise, by its continuing registration exercises.
That it has been able to successfully compile a National List of Electors, notwithstanding questions as to its total accuracy, testifies to efforts by its secretariat to present a credible list, which stood the latter test on polling day.

The fact that there were no reports of persons being disenfranchised, meant that GECOM’s achievement must be commended as its process allowed for those registered to exercise their constitutional right.
However, very special mention is appropriate for our citizens, the core participants in these just concluded historical elections; and this has to be understood against the background of our peculiar historical circumstance.
Objectively, it is fair to say that there are examples of similar conditions in other states that have often descended to pre-polling day violence and even continuing in the immediate post-period. Of course, the 2015 campaign on the whole had been intensely competitive, with considerable provocative language used. Yet, citizens did not allow themselves to be trapped, or be influenced by such dangerous inflammatory rhetoric that could have degenerated into extremes.
A centre piece of this maturity was the ability by the two contending parties to campaign in each other’s “strongholds,” mainly without incidents. Crowds of citizens listened. Call this – the essence of electoral democracy.
The maturity of the tens of thousands of Guyanese, who queued at their polling stations since before the official commencement hour, testified to a discipline that was commendable, for the patience shown as a result of the length of time that some persons waited to cast their votes.
What was clear in the just concluded national elections, and manifested in no uncertain manner, was that all citizens have the inalienable right of supporting the party of their choice, as well as exercising the constitutional right of electing a government, as a personal prerogative.
This was respected, and was no cause for animosity, among the thousands who voted. Undoubtedly, our democracy was upheld.
President Granger effectively summed up this fact when, during his post-swearing in address last Saturday, he said: “……the people have chosen their representatives, the Constitution has been respected, our democracy has been fortified…”
Bravo Guyana! The people have won! Democracy is stronger! We are better equipped for the march to UNITY!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All our printed editions are available online
Subscribe to the Guyana Chronicle.
Sign up to receive news and updates.
We respect your privacy.