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|An article captioned ‘Gov’t attempts to dismiss missing statutory documents in 49 ballot boxes ignoring salient points,’ was published in this paper on August 12. The article described the People’s Progressive Party/Civic’s (PPP/C’s) response to an article highlighting electoral irregularities which was published on the previous day.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall SC sought to dismiss the concerns raised by the article. The unreasonable position taken by the PPP/C — that electoral irregularities in the National and Regional Elections of 2020 — were of no consequence is evidently ridiculous. After all, no fewer than 12,000 ballots were affected by those unlawful irregularities.
The PPP regime, having taken office as a result of those questionable elections, considers itself to be a legitimate government. However, it defies logic and common sense that any legitimate government could emerge from an election that lacks any semblance of credibility.
Political experts tell us that under a democratic political system, a government is considered legitimate if it reached power via democratic popular election, as prescribed by the law. Moral philosophers teach that, the term legitimacy is usually positively interpreted as the status conferred by a governed people upon their governors’ institutions, offices, and actions, based upon the belief that their government’s actions are appropriate uses of power by a legally constituted government.
In other words, a legitimate government must (1) come to power legally, and (2) use power in an appropriate manner. The PPP regime fails to meet both of those critical criteria, as such, the regime cannot be considered to be legitimate.
First, the PPP did not come to power without serious doubts about the credibility of the declared results. The August 12 alluded to this in referencing, “Section 83 (10) (a) ‘Procedure on closing of the poll,’ in the Representation of the People Act (ROPA) mandates the presiding officer to “place the sealed envelope containing the counted and rejected ballots papers in the ballot box, and secure and seal, with his seal and with the seals of such of the duly appointed candidates and polling agents as desire to affix their seals, to the ballot box in such manner that it cannot be opened and that nothing can be inserted therein or taken therefrom without breaking the seals.”
The Act mandates, too, that among the documents that must be placed inside the ballot box before it is sealed are the all-important statements of poll. Since more than 12,000 votes which were tallied and counted, and were in ballot boxes that did not meet the legal requirements, it follows that those questionable votes should not have been counted. Further, it must be emphasised that those questionable votes were from polling places that are PPP strongholds. It also follows that since blatant illegalities occurred, the government that resulted from that electoral process is questionable.
Second, since taking over the office of government, the PPP regime has been using power in a manner that is discriminatory, undemocratic, unfair, and high-handed. Simply put, the PPP exercises political power in an inappropriate manner. It is undeniable that the PPP regime openly discriminates against its opponents and critics, while using the resources of the State to reward its supporters and promote its partisan agenda. The regime blatantly ignores the needs and desires of Guyana’s Indigenous Peoples. Worse still, the PPP regime uses the coercive arm of the State — law enforcement — to intimidate, harass, and even physically harm its detractors.
The indisputable fact is the legitimacy of the PPP regime, given what happened with those ballot boxes and other irregularities unearthed in the Recount team questioned is not at all surprising. A legitimate authority can be the result only of a credible process, and the credibility of the process by which the PPP took power remains in question. It is a fact the PPP has to accept.