Regular and casual undermining of Guyana’s democratic norms and ideals has become a prominent feature of life under APNU+AFC. The ABCE Diploma-tic Corps has always insisted that supporting and promoting democratic norms and ideals are an indispensable part of their mission in Guyana. We, therefore, expect them to stand and speak up without fear or favour whenever democracy is threatened in Guyana. The ABCE Diplomats, however, appear to be in an unholy, oily, acquiescence with dictatorship in Guyana. They have never been shy about engaging in national issues. Why now? Is their silence reflective of their countries’ policies for Guyana?
People have noticed that the ABCE diplomats have gone silent over this issue. Cat got their tongues? President Granger is guilty of constitutional malpractice when he unilaterally appointed James Patterson as the Chairman of GECOM. Apart from Justice Patterson clearly not being a “fit and proper” person within the parameters established by Granger himself, the President’s action is outside of the letter and spirit of the law. The President’s action is totally inconsistent with the appointment of the chair of GECOM since 1992. Since 1992, the appointment of the Chairman has been in accordance with a consensus political arrangement which became enshrined in the constitution of Guyana.
The President’s malpractice is an issue that demands the attention of all stakeholders, including the attention of the ABCE Diplomats. The American Ambassador has never been shy in being embroiled in such discourses, but his silence is now deafening. Just two weeks ago he pronounced there is no crisis in the delayed appointment of the GECOM Chair and that it was understandable that the process was taking time since the President is adhering to constitutional requirements. He has suddenly decided he will not comment on the unilateral appointment of the GECOM Chair. The Canadian High Commissioner insists that she will not comment on this matter. The British High Commissioner suggested court action. In effect they have given a pass to Granger and APNU+AFC. Their silence is permitting Guyana to drift deeper into dictatorship, ignoring at Guyana’s peril, the impact of this polarizing decision by Granger.
Suddenly these diplomats have imposed on themselves limits governing their engagement in national issues, limits they seemingly alter at their whims and fancies. Their modus operandi has changed from political antagonism to political obeisance. How come they were so obsessed with all actions of the government before 2015 when they questioned the PPP’s faithfulness to the constitution and self-righteously questioned the PPP’s adherence to accountability and transparency? What has changed? Is it that they no longer care about a government being guided by the constitution? Is it that accountability and transparency no longer matters to them? Maybe it is that APNU+AFC is a more pliant client and/or maybe it is that Guyana has become a part of the oil power in the world.
Pre-2015 election the EU delayed disbursements of the sugar protocol monies, amounting to more than $5B. Their behaviour then caused a suspicion that the ABC Diplomatic Corps had become a part of an unholy conspiracy for regime change in Guyana.
Given the history of massively rigged elections between 1968 and 1985 in Guyana, and given the history of dictatorship between 1968 and 1992, the expectation is that the ABC Diplomats will adopt a no-nonsense, non-negotiable posture that rejects political interference and rigged elections. The ABCE countries themselves have ample evidence and have stoutly dubbed all elections since 1968 to 1985 as massively rigged. These include elections in 1968, 1973, 1980 and 1985 and a National Referendum in 1978. That is five massively rigged elections.
At a time when all stakeholders must be vigilant and insist on accountability and transparency and an electoral system that is optimally rig-proof, the ABCE Diplomats have gone into hibernation. Sadly, our politics require an unbiased ABCE Diplomatic Corps as part of the stakeholder coalition to ensure the efficacy of the electoral system.
Dr. Leslie Ramsammy