THE characteristic thuggery mentality of the PNC’s role in decades of election rigging in Guyana was made evident by Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton in his response to questions by journalist Denis Chabrol during a recent press conference. His unapologetic attempts to defend and justify his Party’s evidence-based flagrant efforts to cheat elections have not gone unnoticed.
During the 28 years of PNC rule leading up to 1992, Guyana’s recorded electoral history is imbued with much evidence of the PNC’s excesses, a period from which Mr. Norton and many of his cohorts are products. These, while not limited, range from the strategic placement, control, and manipulation of the personnel in charge of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), which frequently allowed the significant abuses of the election’s procedure itself, to outrageous behaviours by their supporters during the elections.
The contemptuous Norton approach is akin to the irrational mentality of his Party trying to prove in the Courts that 33 was not greater than 32 concerning the carried No-Confidence Motion of December 21, 2019. His reasoning, in the Denis Chabrol interview, quickly establishes the inference that under his leadership, the PNC will maintain illogicality concerning electoral matters. Of note, Norton and his either blind or corrupted acolytes seem not to care. At the same time, he appears to conflict himself by, at one point, advancing the claim that he is not aware of any rigging of elections by the PNC, while also suggesting that he “believes that there is evidence that in this political culture, no one side is innocent”.
Editor, Guyana has reached the point in our development where the nation will no longer allow the suppression of our citizens through this cyclical undemocratic thievery to attain ‘power by any means practices’. Most citizens will no longer accommodate these to the regression of national progress as collateral damages. All the ‘riggers’ must face the Courts, and, when found guilty, stand the consequences. The masqueraders and their shenanigans as advocates who have defended the contaminated riggers in GECOM as a means to their prioritised party paramountcy are the architects and real conspirators of rigging.
The 2020 National and Regional Elections were procedurally declared ‘free and fair’ by the PNC+APNU/AFC hours after the elections. Seemingly, they thought the old spreadsheet trick would work, and did not cater to the reach of the roving media. Notably, the APNU+AFC Presidential Candidate David Granger made several attempts to be sworn in as President while being aware of the status of the incomplete count of votes at the designated GECOM-controlled Ashmin’s building. The Guyanese people stood up in unity, and received the support of the world in our fight for free and fair elections. The ‘riggers’ were stopped and exposed to the world.
Aubrey Norton’s tangle with Denis Chabrol on the issue of PNC/R and ‘rigged’ elections in Guyana is a revelation of the PNC’s immunity to lies. But these can only deceive the indoctrinated PNC support base. Under the PNC-controlled mechanism, the 1968, 1973, 1980, and 1985 national elections were blatantly rigged, and several persons were brutally murdered. The Ballot Box Martyrs and the slaughtering of many political activists, including the brutal assassination of Dr. Walter Rodney, must not be forgotten.
It is fresh in our memory that in all the rigging, the manipulation of some GECOM staff holding particularly crucial positions in the Commission and Secretariat played significant roles. The PNC dictated the leadership of GECOM, and employed the riggers to do their dirty work.
The fact that former Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield, his former deputy Roxanne Myers, along with the Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo, and the PNC all-powerful woman at the time, Volda Lawerence, are before the courts for electoral fraud is a matter of grave concern for our nation.
Further, GECOM clerks Denise Babb-Cummings, Michelle Miller, Sheffern February, Enrique Livan, and Opposition member Carol Smith-Joseph were all charged in 2020 for leading roles in the attempt to rig the election in favor of the APNU+AFC.
Another grave concern is the mysterious disappearance of the documentation for 47 boxes of votes. This matter is serious, because the ‘riggers’ instructed those ‘Presiding Officers’ not to place the documents in the boxes. The public must be informed of elements of the concocted plot, given that the CEO’s proposed candidate for RO in Region Four was vigorously opposed. Hence, Clairmont Mingo was catapulted from Region # 5 to Region # 4 as RO.
It is difficult for ‘riggers’ to survive in this framework of vastly improved technology that is making our world more visible. In the international setting, the serious court cases in the United States of America concerning the 2020 Presidential Election are setting the tone for the world to be a better place to live in peace and democracy. The numerous court cases concerning the ‘rigging’ of the 2020 National and Regional Elections must lead to an end to rigging in this country. Those who are found guilty must be made an example, with substantial penalties.