Letter: Election petition continues to frustrate Guyanese while millions are being wasted

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Dear Editor,

The APNU/AFC’s attempt to rig the 2020 National and Regional Elections has led them to wickedly file election petitions to continue fooling their supporters. It is a glaring and open fact that they utilised myriad underhand moves and manoeuvres while knowingly trying to derail the true 2020 Elections’ results. The related billions in associated taxpayers’ money abused in the process are not only overwhelming, but also highlight their innate policy of suffering the nation, given the immeasurable opportunity costs.

The APNU/PNC petitioners represent the same cabal that flagrantly attempted to redefine the most basic interpretation of the English language. From the passing of the No-Confidence Motion on December 21, 2018 to the publicly witnessed recount of votes, this degree of unacceptable frivolity of arguments has not been witnessed before. They are now challenging Section 22 of the Elections Laws Amendment Act (ELAA), through which the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) created Order 60 for the recount of votes from the March 2nd polls. The APNU/PNC are claiming that the recount was unlawful.

It is a matter of extreme proportions that these concoctions were adopted while those contaminated elements in the GECOM Secretariat and those supervising the final Region 4 tabulation of the Statements of Poll (SOPs) refused to validate these approved instruments. All Guyana and the world know that they moved to deliberately provide a spreadsheet of false tabulation of the votes. Their refusal to provide the SOPs in their possession, as legally mandated for this purpose of validation, is a flagrant attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the Guyanese people and the international community.

It is an even more serious travesty because of the amount of money and time that is being wasted behind the APNU/AFC riggers, whose leadership is grabbing at every last straw to keep their support base. It is a futile position that mirrors the false hope they created as the previous Government, while leading the country to the abyss of economic destruction by fuelling social conflict. To now ask the High Court to determine whether the Elections were lawfully conducted, or whether the results have been affected by any unlawful act or omission that allowed the PPP/C to win, is tantamount to sailors on a sinking ship in the middle of the ocean without life rafts.

Following the ongoing petition case is indeed a matter of public interest. Of note were the abstract presentations of APNU/AFC petitioners’ Counsel John Jeremie, the GECOM Senior Counsel Anthony Astapahan versus the apt responses of Senior Counsels Douglas Mendes and Anil Nandlall, which ripped their baseless arguments apart.

The eminent attorneys strongly responded, arguing that where certain difficulties arise in respect to an election, Section 22 empowers the Commission to resolve the difficulties. The brilliant attorneys also advanced strong arguments that Section 22 grants GECOM the authority to amend by Order several pieces of legislation to resolve any difficulty related to the implementation of the Elections Act.

It is clear that APNU/AFC’s hope is one of futility, and their self-denial is hinged on some legal technical clause fuelled by their self-imposed indecent conduct and actions to derail these elections. This case, however, is expected to bring to the forefront many more revelations. Among them the fact that Keith Lowenfield and Clarmiont Mingo refused to produce valid Statements of Poll, which was the cause for the Recount.

The consequences and effects of the deliberate ‘hiding’ and withholding of the valid Statements of Poll to realise an election fraud must therefore carry heavy penalties, including jail terms. While there is wide public consensus that GECOM has enough evidence to dispel these contaminated employees and move on with its business, the violations by its officials exposed in the petition presented before the Court must be taken seriously to deter any such future endeavours.

GECOM, at its earliest meeting, must be decisive regarding the riggers who have breached legal or other procedural policies to inform guilt in the conduct of the serious misdemeanors in the attempts to rig the elections. Further, the Commission must immediately order all those charged and placed before the courts for fraud and misconduct to go home, as the country cannot continue to pay the massive level of emoluments to the fraudsters.

Importantly, millions of dollars are being wasted that our country cannot afford at this time. It is even more critical that the advancement of reform positions be held in abeyance pending the outcomes of this petition, as the Chairwoman, by her published words, has indicated the need to allow. From the look of things, therefore, unless there is decisive action from GECOM, we may end up awaiting the appeals together with the continued deferral of necessary future elections activities as a ransom to our nation’s forward movement. This is unacceptable, and must not be allowed.

I call on GECOM Charwoman Justice (retired) Madam Claudette Singh and the Commission Members to halt the rot and wastage. Act now!

Sincerely,
Neil Kumar