Dear Editor,

Guyana is approaching a period in which none of us have been before. It is one in which the country’s constitution is being consciously subverted by the APNU+AFC regime. This situation will impact all of this country and will become another infamous episode in our already painful history.

Already it is having an impact on the economy. One business person on Regent Street told this writer that on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, the total sale for the day was twenty-three thousand dollars. This is a reflection of the impact the political uncertainty is creating.

Politically, the atmosphere is being seriously soured as the regime seems determined to pursue its unconstitutional course. This, of course, will create a situation in which the regime would lose its legitimacy and descend further into undemocratic politics. All the garb of democracy will fall away.

As the economy flounders and production suffers, coupled with a growing unpopularity, the regime will resort to more social type of bribing. Already, we have seen the massive ‘outreach’ with some thirty Prados converging on the Rupununi. A lot of money is going in handouts in those areas in the hope that they could get some votes. That is rather doubtful since the people in the interior have experienced a significant fall in their standard of living under this regime.  Added to this is the fact that some of their fundamental issues such as land demarcation, have been totally ignored by the APNU+AFC regime. This is the carrot, but they are preparing the stick too.

The APNU is already falling back on racial propaganda. They are clutching at straws in attempting to make charges against PPP/C personnel. Already the government-controlled media, using interviews, etc, are becoming more aggressive in their racial insinuations. They are taking the Opposition Leader’s comments and attempting to given them a racial twist.

The main blame for all of this lies squarely on President David Granger.

He swore to uphold and defend our constitution. His efforts in this direction have been feeble and almost non-existent. He is looking for anything to pass off and excuse his obvious failure to uphold the most basic and fundamental law of the land. He is looking to hide behind GECOM and the Court.

It is clear from the beginning of the life of this regime one of its objectives was to subvert the Guyana Elections Commission and convert it into an instrument of the PNC/APNU. Since taking power they have considerably weakened the Commission. The first act was the appointment of a Chairman of the regime’s choice. They disregarded the consensual process completely and have reversed many of the gains of the Commission.

For instance, the President talks about GECOM being independent and he is awaiting word from it on its readiness for elections. But the measure he took after taking power has changed the nature of the Commission.  It is independent only in name now.

He should be reminded that billions of taxpayers’ dollars have been spent to make GECOM ready. Since 2005 the laws were amended, with the full participation of all the political parties in Parliament to institute Continuous Registration.

The purpose of continuous registration was to ensure that GECOM is always ready for elections

It is clear, therefore, that GECOM is ready!

In a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Government of Guyana (GoG), GECOM and the Donors, the US, UK, Canada and the EU, the Elections Commission stated; “In accordance with Article 162 of the Constitution, the Guyana Elections Commission, and its permanent and professional Secretariat will: i) ensure that all necessary steps are taken to adhere to the requirements of the constitution and other laws of Guyana which embrace the international standards”.

Since then GECOM has been doing continuous registration, updating the list every six months.  The removal of the dead is a continuous process.

The regime has undermined and subverted GECOM’s independence and now they can tell it what it wants. Recall that one of the first acts was to get rid of any independent, professional staff. This was seen clearly when Mr. Vishnu Persaud was removed without good reason. He was very qualified and most experienced to be the deputy CEO. One can only speculate as to the real reason for his removal.

Mr. Lowenfield has been broken since the last election. Recall in 2015 at one point he refused to announce the elections results stating that his conscience would not allow him to do so since he found fake statements of poll. He then put aside four hundred and ninety boxes, presumably those were the ones where he found fake statements of polls.

Yet, hours later with nothing changing he announced the elections in favour of the APNU+AFC list.

It is clear in the intervening hours he was subjected to enormous pressures that caused him to cave and abandon his conscience! What did the trick is not yet known. It could have been threats to his and his family’s lives. (Protesters were in front of his house for hours) or maybe something else.

Instead of attempting to redeem himself in this period, Mr. Lowenfield seems to have resigned himself to serving the PNC/APNU and has seemingly become pliant in their hands. Thus, he seems to be demanding time to prepare. This is his excuse.

All this talk by the President about GECOM has to decide when it would be ready is just lame excuses. The main objective is to extend its life.

This is the same party, and many of the same people, who collaborated with outside forces against Guyana’s independence. Now Granger is speaking about non-interference! This is the same people who rigged elections, practised massive racial and political discrimination and raided the treasury while our people suffered shortages, starvation and restrictions to their freedom.

This is a time for all Guyanese to say to PNC/APNU and the puppet AFC enough is enough!

Let us halt the decline before it becomes a deluge. Let us save Guyana from another PNC style dictatorship!

Yours faithfully,

Donald Ramotar

Former President

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