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Former president and PPP member, Donald Ramotar, has expressed fears that multinational corporations could influence elections in Guyana. According to Demerara Waves October 10 edition, Mr. Ramotar was addressing a PPP event to mark the party’s return to office in 1992. He raised the issue as part of a critique of the Proportional Representation model which the PPP has always claimed was used by the British and Americans to boot the party from office in 1964. He cited the emergence of new parties since 1992 as supporting evidence of his thesis.
I completely agree with Mr. Ramotar that external forces, including multinational corporations, would meddle in Guyana’s elections going forward. Ramotar skillfully confines his fear of external intervention to the future and cites only the PPP as the potential victim. Such framing may have fooled the media, columnists and other so-called independent forces for not one of them has commented on the report. But he did not fool some of us.
We have been arguing in the wake of last year’s inconclusive election that external forces wittingly and unwittingly influenced the outcome which saw the PPP’s return to office. Many observers have cited the emergence of several new parties which contested the election. Three of them actually coalesced to win a seat in the National Assembly. The leader of one of those parties holds the post of Deputy Speaker which traditionally is set aside for the party with the second highest number of votes. Further, most, if not all, of the major leaders of these parties have been appointed to positions in the government. And to polish off the scenario, those parties, save for some utterings from ANUG, have disappeared from the scene. I cite the above to remind Mr. Ramotar that his fears are well grounded. I thank him for recognizing that what was done to the Coalition could and will be done to the PPP. When the PPP is no longer useful to foreign interests, they would suffer the fate as the Coalition.
There has been a conspiracy of silence on what actually took place by those who continue to repeat the thesis that the foreign forces’ involvement was confined to thwarting of the Coalition’s attempt to steal the elections. Freddie Kissoon, Ralph Ramkarran, the two Ravi Devs and Alan Fenty are the most pugnacious columnists in that regard. The four daily newspapers, three of which supported the ousting of the coalition, do not publish anything that points to evidence of external interference in the election. At least they are consistent—they did not carry Ramotar’s comments. While Demerara Waves carried the comments, that publication studiously avoided any editorial reference to similar charges by the Opposition.
Mr. Ramotar has unintentionally done the Opposition a big favor. What he said was most instructive but what he did not say was equally instructive. The truth cannot be hidden for too long. There are still the election petitions before the court which sit on the evidence unearthed by the controversial Recount. The suspects I referenced above do not mention the outcome of the Recount; for them that does not exist. They rail against those of us who have not lent our names and voices to the “rigging” narrative. But they ignore their own silencing of the evidence of rigging unearthed by the Recount.
Whatever happens going forward, the 2020 election provides a template for elections in the age of Oil and Gas. Ramotar recognizes that and says it aloud. He has warned his party that it could be used against them. I was around in 2015 when Ramotar refused to concede the election of that year, charging external interference. I hope I am around when Irfaan and Bharrat will make the same charge.
For me, I hold the view that there was too much tampering , overt and covert, proven and unproven, to certify a clear winner. I cannot be like the CARICOM team which said in its report that GECOM cannot deliver credible elections yet concluded that the PPP won the election which was presided over by the very GECOM. It is an obscenity that would haunt the regional body for a long time.