EYEWITNESS: Limb-jumping…

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…on Electoral Reform

Well, well, well, whad’ya know? The IRI’s back in town, and the PNC and its myrmidons have their knickers and bucktas all in a knot!! Wasn’t it the same outfit working to “bring democracy” to Guyana that precipitated the “feral blast” from the PPP camp back in 2014? To wit: Blue Caps and Red Caps and Vote like a Boss campaigns, to mention just what was in the public space? Who knows what went on behind closed doors?!

The last elections hadn’t even been completed – meaning the PNC’s rigging wasn’t yet stymied – when most of the external observers – invited in by the PNC Government – recommended there must be – at a minimum – “electoral reform”. Those observers included Caricom, the EU, the Carter Center, the US and the UK. At that time, the PPP assured one and all that they’d definitely put that subject high up on their list of “to dos”. And they did when they took office on Aug 2, 2020, declaring they’d accept all the help they can get. Canada then stepped up to the crease. And now the IRI.

Well, who told them to do that!? The PNC immediately said to the IRI rep, at a meeting they demanded, that they weren’t consulted! While not rejecting the organisation’s involvement, they launched into a tirade as to their bona fides by scoffing at their Republican Trustees’ allegedly “suppressing voters” in the American South. They implied this is what’s gonna happen here with PNC voters to help the PPP remain in office.

Ironically, in view of the IRI’s post-2011 involvement in Guyana and the regime change in 2015, Harmon claimed the IRI doesn’t understand the nuances of Guyana’s politics!

Harmon took along Amanza Walton-Desir to presumably explain her theory on Guyanese voters’ participation to the IRI team. To wit, that PPP supporters are “mentally lazy” and not seized by the demands of democracy, as were the PNC supporters! If there is any fixing to be done, then it should be to not allow these mentally lazy creatures to get their hands on the levers of power.

Then, sharply following on Harmon’s heels, came the usual suspects, the GHRA and ACDA, taking an even harder line. The GHRA insisted that the IRI wasn’t needed, and Caricom was a better interlocutor. Seems they forgot the PNC’s rejection of that body following the last elections!! ACDA was convinced that the IRI would work to exclude African- Guyanese from sharing in the oil wealth. Never mind that the IRI folks assured them they’d be consulting with the widest range of “civil society organisations” and individuals as is humanly possible.

But the PNC wouldn’t accept anything else than changes that would put them back in power, would they?

…on producing SOPs

When it comes to elections, the PNC really believe they’re “the smartest of them all!” Take our Statements of Polls (SOPs). After a long and bruising battle, Guyanese won the right for their votes to be counted at the place of poll, rather than at Camp Ayanganna by the Army. Everyone figured that, once that was done, it was just a mechanical task to tally the SOPs and identify the party with the highest number of votes. Simple, eh?

Well, not really. The SOPs have to be tabulated at the ten Regional Offices – under the direction of ten Returning Officers (ROs). And in the last elections, this is where the PNC headed off the count at the Reg 4 pass! But copies had been sent to GECOM c/o its CEO. And this could be used to stymie any hanky-panky, no?

NO! Not when the CEO refuses to show them.

Let’s see if the courts would allow him to treat the SOPs as his private property!!

…and development

It isn’t that your Eyewitness thinks we shouldn’t respect our environment as we try to lift ourselves out of poverty. But we gotta draw the line somewhere, don’t we?

Or do we want to remain in the Stone Age?