THE Dr Irfaan Ali-led PPP government has completed its first year in office. As an objective observer and a concerned Guyanese who is not a member of any political party in Guyana, I would say to all Guyanese, regardless of race or political affiliation, that they should never allow what happened in the aftermath of March 2, 2020, General and Regional Elections to occur again. The March to August 2020 election fiasco period was extremely painful, tension-filled and racially charged that could have exploded had it not been for the wisdom of the ordinary citizens and the sound and proper decisions of the Appellate Court in Guyana and the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). Thankfully, international pressure, especially from the ABC countries, eventually forced former President David Granger to capitulate. The perpetual trumpeting by President Granger that he would accept the results as declared by the GECOM chair was a sham with sinister underpinnings to prolong the agony for five long months. But time was not on his side; ultimately, he had to accept defeat and surrender against the wishes of PNC hardliners. His capitulation fits neatly with the adage, “The longest rope has an end.”
Now is the time for every Guyanese of every race in and out of Guyana to put the country first and stand up for what is right and just. The people of Guyana, especially the youths who are 65 percent of the population, must never again experience such political trauma. What transpired at the Ashmin building and at the GECOM head office in March 2020 by the Returning Election Officer of Region Four and others was reprehensible, scandalous, outrageous, unpatriotic and borders on treason. It was a blatant attempt by the Granger-led administration to steal the elections and remain in power. And those who perpetrate such vicious and thuggish acts and held the nation hostage for five long and arduous months must face the full force of the law and should be banished from politics and society. So far, such exercise has been at a snail’s pace toward the pursuit of justice.
It is true that from March to August 2020, Guyanese everywhere had witnessed an election filled with trauma, falsehoods, and threats to destabilise the country, discredit the elections, and overturn democracy, thus denying the people their right to elect a government of their choice. However, these efforts have failed, thanks to the overwhelming support from the ABC and EU countries, CARICOM, the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the Commonwealth of Nations whose goal was to make sure that democracy prevailed in Guyana.
The five-month ordeal has disgraced the citizens, stained the country, and damaged its reputation in the international community. The lesson learned is that overturning election results in Guyana after the votes were cast and counted was not an easy task, considering the impact of high technology and social media. It is time for everyone, including our politicians, not to dabble or be involved in such deceitful and barefaced ventures. Whether we believe it or not, Guyana continues to be a blessed land with its talented and skilled people at home and abroad and its abundance of raw materials and natural resources, especially its huge oil reserves. What happened in the five precarious months in 2020 must never be allowed to occur again in the country we love and cherish. As Guyanese of every walk of life celebrate the 183rd Emancipation anniversary, we must call on the present government to initiate a national reconciliation process to heal the nation’s wounds and prevent any impending danger posed by the country’s two major ethnic groups, Indo and Afro-Guyanese. This year’s celebration of Emancipation comes at a critical juncture for all of us as we continue to navigate the changed political environment triggered by the change of government a year ago.
As many of us recognise, any change of government brings with it new anxieties and fears for all in society, but most importantly, for the group that has lost power. Like other elections, the last election has left in its trail a racial fallout between the two major ethnic groups. Therefore, we again call on the present government to initiate a national reconciliation process to lessen the racial tensions, mend the ethnic wounds and unite the people.