I AM convinced that Guyana has come out of the shadows of colonialism and one-party dictatorship. Guyana is, of course, still subject to neocolonialism, dependent development, and independent development modelled on western prototypes. I will leap onto the proverbial limb here, however, and state that Guyana has been experiencing, in the past two decades, what is called the autonomy of the political. It is a term that underscores the opportunity to practise politics without interference. The freedom of autonomy does not mean freedom of restrictions from other entities. Rather, autonomy means freedom to self-rule but the adherence to regional and international political norms in the family of 195 sovereign nations.
Amid the responsibility of democratic governance, there have been many questionable events going on in Guyana that forces one to step back and wonder if the country has been on a slippery slope for too long. One lingering event is the attempt by APNU+AFC Coalition and its planted sidekicks in GECOM to steal the March 2, 2020 general elections. This event has brought us back, however temporarily, to the Third World caricature of the old. We have receded from regular to rogue governance, which leads me to say that Guyana might have for the past decades, been experiencing demo-optimism rather than democracy.
The attempt at rigging was “defeated.” There has been a new administration in power. While we welcome these events, there is no guarantee that attempts of electoral rigging would be a practice of the past. In Guyana, the past is always in the present. The mere fact that I am writing about rigged elections is a testimony of how the past has always been alive. Not too long ago, there was a flare-up between the PNC and GECOM Chair. The PNC asked for a special meeting with the GECOM Chairperson, but the latter was uninterested. This askance by the PNC reminds us that all is not well with Guyana’s second most important “independent” institution, GECOM, after the Government. I have stated in other columns that it would take at least two election cycles to flush out the dirt in GECOM. Tainted feelings are too deep-seated for quick reformation. Perhaps foreign participation is needed at the highest level in GECOM, as suggested by one columnist.
That said, we are not sure how the failed attempts to rig the general elections have affected the individuals who were directly involved other than their steadfast determination to successfully finish their assigned task. Additionally, a narrative of a flawed general election from APNU+AFC Coalition is still on the cards as evidenced by one petition in court. That is their right and writ of certiorari, or their grouse. We do know, however, that the attempt to rig the general elections shook up Guyana in unanticipated ways. Up to March 2, 2020, we could have made some safe categorisations and predictions of how far we have come as well as how and where we might be going. For instance, we could have said that it would be impossible to repeat the rigging of general elections. The world has changed. The rigging of elections has no place in the modern world. Then, who would have thought that a Coalition party that was voted into power by “visionaries and revolutionaries” with so much popularity, would want to be involved in the rigging of an election deemed credible? In a recount of the votes, though not perfect, revealed that the PPP/C received 233,336 votes and the APNU+AFC Coalition received 217,920 votes. Yet, the pongs of the rigging cabal in the APNU+AFC Coalition and GECOM have been marketing a narrative of electoral victory.
The courts will rule on the first election petition. It has already dismissed the second petition. I am eager to see how the APNU+AFC Coalition’s explanandum of winning the general election will pan out in court. You may want to ask: if the Coalition’s case is dismissed, then what? Would the Coalition accept defeat? This is a loaded question because it would define and determine how Guyana moves forward. We care because the PNC has had a history of being stubborn in this area. To admit and accept a loss will demonstrate that the APNU+AFC Coalition has departed from the past, a situation Guyana needs for healing and reconciliation. Perhaps the APNU+AFC Coalition should be reminded that modern society is defined and distinguished by laws, not only by established laws, but by adherence to laws especially by those who know better, our leaders. It becomes embarrassing when the “better part” of our society refuses to live up to statutory responsibilities and when they behave like the “lowest denominator” of society. Such a behaviour wreaks havoc in any society and sends the message that our leaders do not care a hoot whose backside is gored except their own. Welcome to Guyana, Mon! (email@example.com).