Shared governance rather than a one-party government 

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Dear Editor

I pen this brief letter to explain my personal position and attitude towards the 2020 elections, and subsequent crisis. In doing so I have chosen to simplify the narrative that the average reader would have no difficulty understanding.

As a political practitioner and activist involved in Guyanese politics for many decades, I have learnt over that period that at times one has to make judgements on important national issues and issues in general without adequate information since the various influences and factors relevant to making the decision may not be fully known. The following are my reasons that have influenced my position and attitude to the elections/crisis:

(1) As early as 2019 I was receiving information that the US and its allies were interested in regime change. This information was coming from sources both at home and abroad. In 2019 an organization that I am associated with took the initiative of compiling a list of persons allied to the PPPC who are involved in corrupt activities, economic and political. This information was provided to a delegation representing Western interest on a visit to Guyana, it was felt that the information would enable them to have a better understanding of the political reality in Guyana as it relates to governance and democracy. Months later we realised that the information we provided was not used for the intended purpose but rather to allow our distinguished guests to develop an alliance with many of these corrupt individuals. This convinced us that democracy and good governance was not on the US agenda, and the Granger led administration was in danger, and there for the picking.

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(2) Going into the elections like most Guyanese I knew that either of the two main parties can win a full majority, so a PPPC win was not an issue for me since it was one of the expected outcomes. It was the size of the victory announced early in the counting process that raised suspicion and doubt. Based on my assessment of the elections I had anticipated a very close result mirroring the 2015 elections where a few thousands votes would separate the winner from the loser. Winning by 15.000 plus votes by any party would have been hard for me to accept without question since such a result was not consistent with my expectation based on my sense of the voting patterns in the country.

(3) I was convinced that the PPPC rigging machine will institute measures to get the votes in the ballot boxes on Election Day taking advantage of the bloated electoral list which they worked with for many elections.

(4) By midday on election day I began receiving information that the APNU+AFC election workers in some far-flung areas of the country were not steadfast in their responsibilities, and the PPPC was getting the upper hand in these remote areas.

(5) Before the Region 4 crisis the PPPC and its allies were on social media claiming that they have an unsurpassable lead that the coalition could not undo from their expected votes in Regent 4. The lead that the PPPC was claiming appeared to me questionable and I was not prepared to support this claim of victory.

(6) At some point in the Region 4 crisis I became doubtful of an APNU+AFC victory since what should have been a straight forward count clearly became a questionable count.

(7) As part of the APNU leadership I felt committed to supporting the agreement struck between then – President David Granger, Opposition Leader Bharat Jagdeo, GECOM and Caricom to resolve the crisis.

(8) I was prepared to accept the outcome of the above process. However, this ended with GECOM Chair and Caricom making their decision based on tabulated votes only, reneging on the issue verification of valid votes which was part of the agreement. This betrayal made it impossible for me to accept the decision since this from my standpoint is a matter of principle and not politics.

(9) After the installation of the PPPC government I took the position that after an election court addresses the matters in the election petition and give its ruling, whatever that ruling is I will find acceptable.  And I stand by that position.

(10) I have stated on numerous occasions during the crisis and after, that my preference was for a shared governance solution rather than a one-party government coming out of the tainted elections. This remains my conviction.

In closing, the single most important factor that informed my position and attitude to the election/crisis was my reading that Granger would keep his commitment he had given to the nation and reiterated after the agreement with the Opposition Leader, GECOM ‘s Chair and Caricom that once GECOM makes its decision that he would abide by the decision. In this context for me rigged elections and the APNU+AFC holding on to power was a non-issue. As I said earlier, in political life at times boils down to judgement rather than having concrete knowledge and certainty.

Regards
Tacuma Ongunseye



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