The following is an opinion piece by by Attorney-at -law and former Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall.
Every government, organization or person that or who has publicly condemned the flagrant, vulgar and incessant attempts by the rigging cabal and their acolytes to perpetrate fraud at the 2nd March 2020 elections held in Guyana and to attempt to defeat the will of the electorate and steal the new Government, has been met with public vitriolic abuse and vilification.
The latest victim is the Honourable Mia Mottley QC, Prime Minister of Barbados and Chairperson of CARICOM. One of the latest perpetrators is Lincoln Lewis. Lewis’s politics is well-known. He has been a rabid and unashamed advocate and supporter of the fraudulent electoral machinations and illicit design of APNU+AFC and the undemocratic agenda clandestinely being executed within the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), from the inception.
It dates back to his public support for the unconstitutional appointment of James Patterson as the Chair of GECOM. He has been both consistent and unwavering in his public position on every attempt at electoral chicanery, since. He supported the unlawful house-to-house registration exercise. He supported the attempts to remove tens of thousands of registered electors from the National Register of Registrant (NRR) database. He supported Mingo’s fraudulent declarations. He supports Lowenfield’s latest perversity. His position now, therefore, surprises none. The poison that toxicates his mind and which affects his every outlook, is well-known, but that is for another time.
He accuses the Honourable Mottley of making sub-judice comments on the case before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). He chastises her for so doing, citing her Queen’s Counselship. I am not sure how much Mr. Lewis knows about the sub-judice doctrine.
I do not pretend to know much about it myself, but I do know that it relates to comments that are made with the intention of, or are likely to, prejudice the outcome of a pending case. I also know that the doctrine must bend and bow to the might of free speech, which is, universally, guaranteed as a basic human right. The multiple frauds that are attempted in the Guyana electoral process are not only matters of high national importance but are also matters of regional and universal importance. In a free society, therefore, every citizen has a freedom to express a view on the issue, including, one that is critical and condemnatory.
Like Lewis, who publicly supports these fraudulent designs, Ms. Mottley is also a member of a free society, and therefore, enjoys that freedom to be critical and condemnatory of the same fraudulent designs.
I have listened to Ms. Mottley’s entire speech. Firstly, no reference was made whatsoever to the litigation at the CCJ and secondly, nothing said in that speech can be interpreted as prejudicing the outcome of those proceedings. No doubt, Ms. Mottley is aware of those legal proceedings. I am also in no doubt that she exercised her mind, judiciously, taking into account the sub-judice principle, when she spoke. Alas, she is Silk, and I dare say, worthy of it.
In fact, in her capacity as the Chairperson of CARICOM, Ms. Mottley has a duty to make the subject remarks for the following reasons:
1.) Guyana is a member of CARICOM of which she is the current Chair;
2.) CARICOM fielded an observer team to the elections. That team certified the elections as free and fair;
3.) upon Mr. David Granger’s initiative, Mottley brokered an accord for a national recount of the ballots to be done. CARICOM dispatched a team to oversight the national recount exercise;
4.) Mr. Granger cited CARICOM as the “most legitimate interlocutor” to observe the elections and demanded that GECOM take into account the CARICOM team’s report;
5.) the CARICOM team’s report certified the elections to be fair and credible and labeled the allegations by APNU+AFC to be false and unsubstantiated.
In the circumstances, as a result of Keith Lowenfield’s fraudulent Report, Ms. Mottley could not have remained silent. She was not alone. The Commonwealth and the Ambassadors of the ABC countries and the EU publicly expressed similar sentiments.
To the Lewis’s of Guyana, I say that the overwhelming majority of Guyanese, including, objective supporters of the APNU+AFC, welcome these enlightened foreign interventions and we will continue to encourage them. However, I do appreciate that political demagogues, autocrats, authoritarians and dictators will label them as “interference” and “attacks upon sovereignty” under the rubric of patriotism.
After all, “patriotism” has long been the last refuge of a scoundrel.