THE People’s Progressive Party/Civic administration (PPP\C) under the presidency of Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali has completed one year in office. The President was sworn in on August 2, 2020, as the Ninth Executive President of Guyana, after an inordinate period of delay in the declaration of results of the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections.
The events that led to the elections, precipitated by a successful no-confidence motion moved by the then political opposition, and the attempts to derail the democratic process by the APNU+AFC with support from rogue elements within the GECOM Secretariat will long be remembered by Guyanese.
It was indeed a shameful episode in our national life, which most Guyanese would wish had never taken place – – the delay in holding elections 14 months after the passage of a no-confidence vote; failure by GECOM to make a declaration after 115 days since polling day and by no means least, attempts to steal the elections by ‘rogue’ elements within the GECOM Secretariat.
Those were the darker side of the elections saga, but there were some positive developments as well, the most significant of which was the strength and impartiality of our judiciary. The role of the Caribbean Court of Justice (ICJ) was particularly instrumental in terms of upholding the rule of law in a fair and unbiased manner.
Full credit must be given to that regional court whose rulings were binding and which took precedence over those which emanated from our national courts. The support and solidarity extended by the smaller contesting parties along with that of the international community in defence of our democracy was also substantial.
It was very evident that the international community is today much less tolerant of rigged elections compared to past years when the PNC regime was able to get away with blatant abuse of the electoral process, which was responsible for the perpetuation of its life in government for close to three decades.
Worthy of note also is the role played by the independent media, including social media, in highlighting and exposing attempts to hijack the will of the electorate.
One positive outcome was the coming together of people from all across the national spectrum to lend support in defence of our fragile democracy — the private sector, prominent individuals in and out of Guyana and a strong cadre of young people who organised themselves in shifts to stand vigil in order to ensure that the ballot boxes were not tampered with.
All of that is now, as it were, water under the bridge, but they do serve as a reminder of the fragility of our democracy and provide some important lessons, especially in terms of the further strengthening of our democratic institutions of which the Guyana Elections Commission and its secretariat in particular must be placed high on the priority list.
We have, thankfully, gone past that sordid episode. At his swearing-in ceremony, President Ali, in a spirit of peace and reconciliation, pledged that he will be a President for all of Guyana, a commitment to which he remains firm and unwavering. He assured all Guyanese of his desire to build a country for all Guyanese. ‘
There is no need to fear; there is no need for distinction based on political persuasion; no need for distinction based on ethnicity. This is a government for all Guyana,’ the President emphasised.
he challenges were many: the COVID-19 pandemic, the natural disasters and by no means least, the refusal of the APNU+AFC opposition coalition to recognise the new PPP/C administration, but the wheels of progress continue to turn at an accelerated pace.
After one year in office, the progress made in the country by the President and his PPP/C administration is nothing short of monumental. The development train has touched every part of Guyana, and more importantly the lives of all Guyanese, regardless of race or political affiliation.
Indeed, it is not by coincidence that as we observe the first anniversary of the PPP/C in office, the President has announced that his administration will commence the payment of financial assistance to the tune of $7.8B to the thousands of Guyanese who have been affected by the recent floods, the largest relief allocation in the country’s history.
This is indeed a welcome gesture on the part of the President and his administration which, at a more fundamental level, speaks to the people-oriented character of the PPP/C government. Congratulations to President Ali and his administration on a job well done!