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Amid the firestorm over the US-funded electoral reform project here, the ruling People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has assured that the government of Guyana will be leading the process and not the International Republican Institute.
The party also attacked critics of the IRI’s involvement in the project singling out the APNU+AFC coalition, saying it is not at all surprised by their robust objections to the initiative.
The coalition appeared to have initially objected to the project after it was not consulted, but subsequently met with officials of the IRI, which is facilitating the project. Following that meeting Leader of the Alliance For Change Khemraj Ramjattan said that he does not have any issue with the initiative he also said that the coalition was able to clarify all the issues it had during the meeting with the IRI team.
However, there have been several officials connected to the coalition that have voiced objections to the IRI leading the project.
In a statement, the PPP/C accused the PNC of historically opposing any reform that would enhance Guyana’s democratic structure, strengthen the legal progress and bring transparency to the electoral machinery. “The PNC would like a weak system which they can pervert and corrupt as the world saw them attempt to do for five long months after the March 2, 2020, General and Regional Elections,” the ruling party said in its statement it added: “After all, they are a party that rigged the elections and stole Governments for twenty-eight (28) long years. Nothing has changed. Only recently, the PNC leader, Mr. David Granger, is on public record as saying that electoral matters should not be heard and determined by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). Every sensible Guyanese must know that were it not for the CCJ, the PNC would have successfully stolen Government. Fortunately, Guyanese, as well as, the international community see the PNC for who they are and do not take them seriously.”
According to the PPP/C the attack upon the International Republican Institute’s (IRI’s) role in Guyana’s electoral reform process has been misrepresented and manipulated to win political partisan and ethnic sentiments. The party said the International Republican Institute is not new to Guyana and is part of a constellation of organisations that have worked to improve Guyana’s democratic process over the years. “Indeed, the very APNU+AFC Coalition who is condemning the IRI now was comfortable in partnering with the very IRI during the 2011 and 2015 electoral campaigns across the country. In 2014, the IRI supported the formation of the Guyana National Youth Council. A month before the elections, the group rolled out its ‘Vote Like a Boss Campaign’ – a slogan that was coincidentally being used by the APNU+AFC Coalition in its campaigning. Therefore, the sudden disdain and criticism of the IRI is simply duplicitous and disingenuous.
The truth is that the PPP/C’s Administration has made it very clear as soon as they assumed office there will be electoral reforms and the Government would drive that process. It was also made very clear that the Government will accept the assistance and work with various international organisations and Governments, as well as, local organisations and political parties that stood with Guyana in defence of our democracy, during the dark five months when it was under severe threat.”
“Needless to say, that it is downright naive for anyone to think that such a process can be undertaken without the input of the major opposition political party in Guyana. The law reforms must be done through the parliament and the opposition will have an input both in and out of parliament,” the PPP/C said.
The PPP/C also noted that the WPA’s statement that the IRI is spearheading the project is “simply not the truth as the Government of Guyana will be leading the process.” “Other insignificant surrogate organisations have similarly risen frm dormancy. Their puerile outpourings are unworthy of a response.
Perhaps, the worst in the lineup is the Guyana Human Rights Association. For five long months when Guyana’s democracy was under siege, and while every major local organisation made its voice heard, every international organisation in this hemisphere played a part, and one hundred (100) Governments across the Globe lent their support, we did not hear a murmur from the GHRA. Now that we are proceeding to reform the process, in order to strengthen it against the type of fraud we witnessed being attempted to be perpetrated against the will of the Guyanese people, this undemocratic organisation is critical. The least said, the better,” the PPP/C statement concluded.