Honest declaration of elections results would open the door to rebuilding trust – Samuel Hinds

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Letter by Samuel Hinds, Former Prime Minister and former President

Mid-May 2015, a day or two after the declaration of our May 11, 2015 General Elections, still stunned and dazed and bruised all over by our (PPP/C) surprised, narrow, declared loss: reminding, comforting and seeking to reassure myself that in life there will be ups and downs, occasions of winning and occasions of losing: that life must and will go on and that in the case of elections, there will come another day no more than five years away for our next elections.
Some say that the day the results of an election is declared is the day to begin working for the next. I took up myself, put my toughest elephant skin on and journeyed downtown to pick up what vibes I might, and as much to show that we, PPP/C had not into hiding gone, neither routed nor vanquished were we. In front of Stabroek Market, the usual high level of activities not yet restored, a group of Afro-Guyanese young men, such as I have heard described even by themselves as “deh about” and “knowing what is coming down” hailed out at me: “Outgoing PM, why you so glum? It is we who voted Granger in for a change, to see what that big man can do: and if he ain’t doing, we will vote him out in turn (at the next elections)”.
They made my day: I couldn’t ask for more – we talked. They restored my faith from my Linden, bauxite working days, that in quiet moments out of the limelight, with persons never thought possible, good and wise counsel could be shared. I would like to meet up with them again – not to hear how they voted on March 2, 2020 – my issue would be the implied assumption in our discussions in May 2015, that elections would be run fair, who wins, wins; and if there is to be a change in Government, so let it be, another change can surely follow. I would like to know that they are not supportive of the frustration that we Guyanese have been enduring of the results of our 2020 elections.
I write this letter having just been looking at an FB post by fellow Guyanese, Roy Beepat, which I understood to be making the point (as many others have done) that there could be no more compelling evidence that the coalition had lost than that departure of RO Mingo from the accustomed open procedure of tabulating the votes from the SoPs and his refusal to return to that open tabulation.
Also, I write this letter, dismayed as to how the leadership elite of the PNCR/APNU/AFC has played out the dire expectations of them. I refer again to my readings of a number of Dr Henry Jeffrey’s Future Notes over the last five years: the leadership of the PNCR/APNU/AFC coalition are doing their own thing, not the people’s desires. They must be depending on 1) whatever they do, even to their own people, they are not concerned about losing their vote; their traditional supporters not wanting to see a PPP/C win, would tolerate anything; 2) as a fallback, a captured election machinery would provide whatever addition (rigging) may be required. If this leadership elite can’t themselves change then their people should change them out. They are no good for Guyana.
Rather than throw in the towel on the obvious farce to hang on to Office, the leadership elite of the PNCR/APNU/AFC have preferred to keep our people and country punishing during over 50 days of COVID, and insisting on procedures for a recount for which there might yet be no end.
I write this letter in an appeal to my fellow 217,614 Guyanese, each one of you individually and all together, who, as is your right, voted for the coalition on March 2: This is an appeal from fellow 232,805 Guyanese who voted for the PPP/C and 9485 other Guyanese who voted for the small parties. I call on enough of you to raise your voices and insist within the varied meetings of the various PNCR/APNU/AFC, that the change in Government, with the return of the PPP/C to Office, is not, and has no reason to be the end of the world. I call on every one of you who holds our Guyana endeavour dear, to insist: “Let the PPP/C have their just rewards and enter office: no rigging in my name (with fond memories of dear Andaiye)”.
I write this letter believing that the overwhelming majority of our people have been earnest in their desire to make a success of our Guyanese endeavour, of fragments from six peoples from around our world becoming in time, One People, One Nation with a common Destiny. Our problem has been, in my view, that the challenge therein is ten times as profound and as intense as would have first been imagined. Many of us, leaders and rank and file, would have given up early. Even so, I must recognise that the events since March 2 have been putting to a severe test the question whether there is between and amongst us the minimum essential to sustain that noble aspiration of becoming “One People, One Nation”.
There are again the many calls for us to bring about a change in the form of our Governance – but one must wonder whether persons frustrating our 2020 Elections would be any more ready for an annual rotation of a presidency when that day came. An honest declaration of the results of our 2020 Elections would open the door to rebuilding the essential trust for our Guyana endeavour and earnest consideration of alternative forms of Governance.
We of the PPP and PPP/C have been persevering in our commitment to the Guyana endeavour. Although not satisfied with the declaration of the 2015 Elections, our commitment to the Guyana endeavour prevailed. Our Presidential Candidate conceded and we exited the Offices of Government within four or five days of that elections. It was not the end of the world for us, PPP/C, – indeed we have been refreshed and revitalised and it may well have been a blessing in disguise. There is no reason why accepting and coming to terms with their loss in 2020 could not do the same for the coalition and it will bring these days of torment of our people and nation to an end.
The Guyana endeavour needs the commitment of both large parties – one hand can’t clap.