Eyewitness: Fixing…

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…the electoral system?

Even before they finally took office, the PPP vowed to work to straighten out the electoral system, so that Guyana won’t have to suffer the agony of what it experienced for 8 months after the elections. But we do know that no matter what mechanisms we introduce, the PNC will undermine, subvert, and challenge them, don’t we? But this shouldn’t stop us from making it difficult for them. At a minimum, we have to ensure there are systems that’ll force their rigging out into the open, so that the citizenry and the international community can stand on the side of democracy, as they did last year.

So, we just learnt that the US State Department has contracted the International Republican Institute (IRI) for an 18-month stint to help out the AG Chambers and GECOM in this regard. Now, the IRI are very familiar with Guyana and the PNC’s labyrinthine manoeuvres to subvert elections here. In fact, they worked very closely with the PNC back in 2011 to mobilise their base with the “Vote like a Boss” campaign. It worked like a boss, and eased them into office.

What interested your Eyewitness very much was that part of the release that promised they’ll “improve collaboration for joint advocacy actions, and prioritise electoral and constitutional law issues while promoting reform through citizen engagement.” Now, your Eyewitness had already commented about the efforts of the woke chatterati class that have already jumped into the fray sometime last year with their well-publicised launch to gain an early pole position.

They had promised to fan out across the country to get ordinary folks aboard, but nothing has been heard from them since their “launch”. This, of course, brings up concerns as to exactly who they’re speaking for. Some people believe that certain sections of the society are “mentally lazy”, and your Eyewitness wonders whether they agree, and will target this now identified benighted group for “enlightenment”. We expect that when the IRI start their work in Guyana, they’ll spring to the fore, since their connections have long been forged in several previous incarnations.

One concern your Eyewitness has is the span of the “electoral reform”. There’s a persistent bunch that wants to use “electoral change”, to upend the entire system of governance for some nebulous “shared governance” model that’s never worked anywhere. For example, they tout Northern Ireland as an example. Have they followed the trials and tribulations of that agreement, even with its idiosyncratic features?

Guyana has become a nation of minorities, in which the objected-to “ethnic voting patterns” cannot put any party that relies on any one ethnic group into office.
Guyana, therefore, already has a built-in feature to guarantee moderating politics.
Let’s not fix what’s not broken.

…what’s broken

Not because your Eyewitness says the system for electing a government is okay it means everything is hunky-dory. It won’t – for the simple reason that the leaders in the PNC refuse to accept the rules of the democratic game and concede legitimacy to the winners. In every country, when a party or a coalition wins more than 50% of the vote – even by the tiniest whisker – the losers accept the legitimacy of the winners.

Just look at the bitterly contested elections in W. Bengal, where several persons were killed in elections violence. Yet, the winners and losers are moving on. Right here in Guyana, when the PNC and AFC narrowly won the 2015 elections, even though the PPP challenged the elections results, they accepted the PNC as the Government.
So, what’s broken and needs fixing in Guyana are the PNC. They have to disabuse themselves of the notion that they’re the only party that can govern Guyana.
In our ethnically divided society, this assumption is racist!

…our COVID crisis

And make no bones about it…we have a crisis on our hands. We’re all wringing our hands about India.
Does anyone care that Guyana’s death rate of 370/million is more than twice India’s 162/million?