PRESIDENT Irfaan Ali has finally announced a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the March 2, 2020 elections fiasco that saw Guyana’s democracy being threatened by elections skullduggery and the attempts to rig those elections results.
President Ali, speaking at the Enmore Martyrs Memorial Service, promised that the CoI Commissioners would be announced on Tuesday.
The President said the International CoI would be aimed at arriving at the truth and would put many assumptions to rest before the public’s eyes about what caused the five-month delay in declaring a winner of the elections.
This CoI was his way of honouring the Enmore Martyrs and all the people who struggled and fought for Guyana’s democracy. He was staying true to a promise he had made to the people of Guyana.
Ali was quoted as saying that, “Those who subverted democracy, those who cannot present their SoPs (Statements of Poll), and those who struggled against the will of the people, the CoI will set the truth free from the untruth….”
Firstly, President Ali chose the right time and place to make the announcement. The President could have made it long ago but waited for tensions to ease and tempers to calm down, showing good political judgement and maturity.
The President’s announcement was genuine and appeared to come from the heart. It must have been well-thought out and advised because it came on the heels of the Chairman of the Elections Commission, Justice Claudette Singh, declining the request of Opposition-nominated Commissioners to probe GECOM internally.
Any right-thinking, and independent Guyanese would see the merits in making this announcement.
Secondly, it is hoped that this CoI would be given the support and cooperation that it needs to get down to the truth of everything that played out within the 2020 elections and the aftermath.
The Opposition, APNU+AFC support is needed but is not necessary to arrive at the truth because there would be a wealth of evidence and first-hand accounts from different sources available to the CoI.
However, it is felt that there will be resistance to the CoI probing into the election fiasco by the APNU+AFC coalition. The coalition would even consider the idea to be useless, given the court challenge by the Coalition party.
It is expected to seek to diminish the work of the CoI and divert attention using cost of living concerns of people.
If the political prediction is correct, the public should brace itself to hear about an alleged increased PPP corruption. The Opposition will say and do anything not to be a partner to the CoI accomplishing its terms of reference.
After all, the Opposition coalition knows what will likely emerge from such an endeavor.
Despite the fierce protestation that is likely to occur in the weeks ahead, one hopes that the APNU+AFC will still show some political responsibility and maturity and participate in lending the evidence it says it has, showing how the election was fraudulent and stolen by the PPP.
Similarly, the PPP must be truthful and fair. It must present the evidence to show how the APNU+AFC infiltrated GECOM and corrupted systems in an effort to steal the election away from the people.
Other political parties and civil society entities should be a partner to the CoI.
Thirdly, the CoI will offer political as well as systemic recommendations for avoiding many of the fraudulent activities which occurred after the polls were closed. It will include systems that Guyana must have to stop future stealing of the people’s will and ballot.
These CoI recommendations can help safeguard the democratic freedoms and rights of Guyanese along with the electoral reforms and legislative changes until constitutional reforms become a reality.
Finally, there is an urgent need for the CoI to commence work and start its hearings soon. Guyanese must be bold enough to face the truth and fix it for future generations down the line.
It may be uncomfortable, but we must achieve the closure, over the madness of the election, on the way to the attainment of ‘One Guyana’.
Guyana must breathe again after this CoI and continue to learn from all its mistakes as a nation.
One thing is clear. This CoI is a step forward in the right direction for democracy.