Statute of limitations

Dear Editor,

In a letter to the Stabroek News published on April 27, 2011, Abu Bakr eruditely speculated that there is no statute of limitations, and that perpetrators of election rigging could yet find themselves facing the judges.

I knew three people who helped rig elections. I know for sure that two are deceased, and the third is either deceased or out of the country. One admitted to me, unprompted, in the face of the charity she was shown in her old age, what she used to do. I count that as repentance before she died.

Here is why I find it so diabolically revolting that the PNC has not admitted to rigging national elections: they just have to wait and the evidence will die out. There is a natural statute of limitations for anything, but let us not forget that that goes also for forgiveness.

The one who might be out of the country freely confessed to having helped rig elections to a Christian prayer group (in what some might now term a Jagdeo-Trotman moment), and it looks like repentance without immediate non-spiritual consequence, because the hearers were impressed with the sincerity of the revelation.

The last one had disembarked with others from a WRSM van and went into the voting area of a school next to the church where I was doing some youth work at about 5 pm on that 1978 (house/mouse ‘Referendum’) day. When they finished they got back into the van and it proceeded past me standing at the church gate. She was sitting in front and happened to turn and look straight into my eyes for a moment that I have never since forgotten.

She could easily pass for a grown woman, but I knew she was only 13 years old because she was a quite popular, bright, and talented 3rd form student at the school where I was a senior teacher.
I was one of many people who boycotted that referendum and all subsequent elections until 1992 because their arrangements were as much of an eyepass to intelligent people as some of the fiscal arrangements of this government. Yet here was a child, no doubt obeying her elders, who was going around voting. What was I to do?

I felt I could do nothing but describe what I saw to fellow human rights workers, but I called no name. She was not in my classes at school, but realizing the kind of pressures she must have been under, I resolved not to add to them. Nevertheless, her performance in all areas of school life dropped drastically.

About 20 years later at a gathering of some of her school classmates I asked about her. “Didn’t you know?” they said, “She’s dead. She committed suicide when she was 18.” I still said nothing; but if any of those quite accomplished (but now mostly overseas) ladies read this they will know who I am referring to.

The statute of limitations applied early for the dead underage voter, but I am still alive, and I feel I can only forgive the PNC when they admit to what they have done. That is why I value the position of the AFC and of other parties who have not joined with the PNC, even though APNU contains individuals for whom I have had very high regard.

Yours faithfully,
Alfred Bhulai

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