Former Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin has made a call for a full investigation to ascertain whether there was any wrong-doing on the part of individuals within the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) as it relates to the integrity of statements of poll or the tabulation of results.
According to the former minister, there are several issues arising out of the events unfolded over the past two weeks. He sought to address them via a Facebook post last evening. First and foremost, he directed his attention to the loss of confidence in GECOM, a critical national institution.
Speaking to this issue, Gaskin said, “Regardless of who is wrong or right or good or bad, GECOM cannot purport to hold credible elections in the future unless it can satisfactorily address the major concerns that have been raised about its declared results and the post-election processes leading to those declarations.”
Another concern raised by him was the inability of APNU and/or the AFC to win another election in the near future whether through public perception or bias.
He added, “This is a very likely consequence of what has taken place and doesn’t bode well for our future. I personally find the prospect of the PPP/C winning elections and remaining in power for another decades-long stretch quite frightening.”
The former government minister also said that the post elections happenings has caused societal damage from exacerbated ethnic tensions. He reasoned from all that has been said, implied and displayed since March 2, has severely damaged the fragile but admirable co-existence of our two major ethnic groups.
“In my view, race voting is not necessarily racism. Neither is the passionate advocacy for better conditions for a particular ethnicity. However, a lot of our recent behaviour has crossed the line and is clearly racist and harmful to social cohesion.”
It has been 19 days after polls were closed and still GECOM has not made a final declaration. As a matter of fact, GECOM is presently embroiled in several battles before the High Court over a controversial declaration made by Region Four’s Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo.
But it is not only that. APNU+AFC Candidate Ulita Moore has secured an ex parte interim injunction blocking GECOM, incumbent President David Granger and Leader of the Opposition from entering into an agreement for a independent high level team from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) for supervising an overall recount of ballots cast in the 10 regions.
The Opposition has filed proceedings with the hope of having the injunction discharged.
The problem erupted after Mingo made a declaration for Region 4 which has close to 285,000 voters. The declaration made on March 5 placed the APNU+AFC coalition ahead of the PPP/C opposition by some 59,000 votes in District 4 and by approximately 7,000 votes overall in the General Election.
There was immediate and widespread rejection of this declaration, based primarily on procedural grounds and a lack of transparency, Gaskin reminded.
Gaskin admitted that he has taken a personal position on Mingo’s declaration. In fact, he does not buy his numbers.
“Who vex, vex! I am not attempting to convince anyone that my position is the right one. I’ve gone beyond that. I am also not condemning anyone for whatever position they may wish to take. Life is too short,” Gaskin made clear.
Among other things, he said, “We need a new model of governance which works for us and which doesn’t incite this level of divisiveness every five years. This is not something that can be left to any incumbent to address. It will never happen.”
He continued, “There must be a binding commitment from all parties as part of a packaged resolution of the current situation. Finding a permanent solution is not rocket science. Those who are not up to the task should step out of the way and allow better minds to figure it out – lots of bright young people in Guyana.”
“The real big men and women have to start talking to each other, or stop pretending to be leaders. Various other stakeholders need to set side aside their emotions and adopt a more conciliatory posture which puts the nation first.”
Unless we can bring ourselves to understand that there are good people on both sides of the 2020 elections controversy who genuinely believe the narrative coming out of their camps, Gaskin pointed out that we risk detonating the fuse that has been burning slowly for over six decades.
He added that all voters deserve to know the true result of the process in which they innocently and dutifully participated. In the eyes of Gaskin, General and Regional Elections 2020 has been nothing short of a national embarrassment.
“Elections 2020 has been a national embarrassment. If we cannot manage a simple election, how the heck do we plan to manage an oil economy? We seem to be doing everything possible to make up for the absence of natural disasters in this dear land of ours,” the former Business Minister concluded.