LETTER: One option could be allowing the UN to manage the elections

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Dear Editor,

It does not appear that the two sides, President Granger and Opposition Leader Jagdeo, APNU/AFC and PPP, will reach an agreement (consensus) on appointing a GECOM Chair or set a firm timeline for elections. On June 18, the CCJ had urged the two sides to come to an agreement by June 24 on orders the court should issue and they failed to meet. On June 24, the court extended the deadline to July 1 (date for written submission of suggestions for consequential orders) and the sides still failed to meet, much less discuss the issues. The court had stated that they could try until July 12 when the court will issue its orders on what must be done. The court’s orders are final. The two sides should try to resolve this political problem. The ABC countries should put pressure on both sides to meet and honour the Constitution.

There is much distrust between the sides. Both sides are fearful of fraudulent elections. My conversations with Guyanese reveal they also fear that election results may not reflect the will of the voters. A poll I am conducting in Guyana reveals a very racially polarised nation. Governing Guyana will not be easy unless election results are accepted by both sides. The country will not make progress after elections unless both sides feel the outcome reflects the will of the voters and that every eligible voter’s name is on the list.

Since it has become a controversial political issue that does not lend itself to an easy solution, may I suggest that both sides meet and work out an agreement for the United Nations to manage (run) the elections? It will save Guyanese the expense of organising the elections. The UN was in charge of holding elections in several polarised societies when the contending parties could not reach an agreement on a way forward. The UN will ensure that free and fair elections are held in Guyana and that no one is denied the right to vote. The UN’s Secretary-General and its security forces will make sure a credible election is held and the results accepted.

Yours truly,

Vishnu Bisram