Black Immigrant Daily News
File Photo: Guyanese lined up to vote at Local Government Elections
Please permit me the space to extend warm season’s greetings to all readers at home and internationally. Locally, although we have had very wet weather, from the looks of things around Georgetown and various parts of the country, Guyanese are displaying celebratory vibes this season with a passion reminiscent of the Christmas of old, that many recall.
We all should. Thanks to the astute leadership of President Dr. Irfaan Ali, General Secretary Dr. Bharat Jagdeo, and a hardworking PPPC team, we are in a better place. Guyana is on a swift recovery path from the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and the significant APNU/AFC threats against our democracy. Although other critical platforms including the overdue and promised Local Government Elections are still to be held, the signs of forward progression are bright for the new year.
Notwithstanding, this 2022 year-end presents opportunities for our citizens at home and afar to once again experience the ‘typical’ Guyanese Christmas holidays. We welcome all visitors, and those Guyanese who have so far overcome their nostalgic feelings and come home during this period. It is also a point from which we could objectively retrospect, and develop strategies to avoid the pitfalls that are likely from the typical PNC characteristic style and agenda.
Lest we forget, or become complacent about elections-related threats to our freedoms in our beloved country, the struggles will forever continue with election matters, as they have with origins characterised by lawless behaviours displayed by leaders and supporters of the PNC to maintain power at any cost, even before I was born in 1953.
Editor, the annals of our history confirm that, in 1953, our first General Elections were held, and a united PPP swept the polls. But, after only a mere one hundred and thirty-three days, the British rulers suspended the Constitution and imprisoned political champion Dr. Cheddi Jagan and his closest comrades. In 1957 and 1961, the PPP won the elections again! However, in 1964, while the PPP won the most seats, a coalition Government between the PNC and the United Force (UF) was allowed to form the Government.
The PNC have since set up machinery, including a heavily manipulated Guyana Elections Commission, that significantly contributed to the rigged elections of 1968, 1973, 1978-80, and 1985. It was the PNC riggers who targeted the setup of a PNC ‘One Party State’, the consequence of which resulted in heavy corruption, unrelenting crime, basic food shortages, blatant discrimination, murdering of our citizens, and a total collapse of the economy.
The Guyana economy reached a point where the country was paying more interest on foreign debt than on income. Parents had to work all day, and listen to their children screaming in pain, and they could not even get an aspirin to give a sick child. Two pregnant mothers on a single bed in the hospital became a statutory position, while rats and roaches ate at the patients’ bodies while they were in the hospital.
It was the foregoing unacceptable and severe living conditions at home that forced our people to leave the country, and others to unite and form the Political Committee in defense of Democracy. General Elections were due in 1990, but in response to the globally acknowledged outcries of our people, the PNC’s full control of the Guyana Elections Commission was removed through the intervention of the Carter Center.
The intervention realized a mediatory position in which the PNC agreed to postpone the National and Regional Elections for two years to fix the election system, and in the 1992 elections, we had the “Dawn of a New Era”.
After two decades, the PPP/C held proper Local Government Elections (LGEs) for the first time in 1994. Notably, since then, the PNC did everything to prevent the holding of LGEs, due to their increasing unpopularity across most communities. The exceptions were following their return to power using the now well-established scandalous “broadsheet,” instead of the acceptable and legitimate statements of poll, while doing all forms of skullduggery.
Following their significant whipping at the LGEs in 2016 and 2018 while in power, they have resorted to their delaying suppressive approach. However, one who takes the PNC’s characteristic trickery for granted does so at their peril. The nation and international community have witnessed and rejected their flagrant attempts at bullyism. Therefore, our Government must ensure a corrective and supportive legal mechanism is in place to prevent the future rigging of elections in this country. Our people must resist all forms of rigging, and the PNC must find proper leadership to work for a united country.
President Irfaan Ali has set the tone by walking the walk of advancing a most potent ‘One Guyana’ motto, which must become a reality. The holding of the LGEs is also necessary, and GECOM must fulfill its responsibility and complete the elections in early 2023. The unfinished work of the Commission of Inquiry must also be completed in 2023, so those appropriate corrective recommendations are addressed for the next General and Regional Elections.
Our Government is thankful for the support of objective partners, and the nation expects that all corrective systems would be addressed to end all forms of rigging elections in this country. A progressive 2023 to all Guyanese and our supporters!