Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo has conceded that the recount process of all ballots cast in the March 02, General and Regional elections which began on May 06, 2020, has dragged on for too long.
According to him, though this is the reality, he also recognises that it remains guided by the prescriptions of the Constitution, the directions of the judiciary and the scrutiny by all contesting political parties, foreign and local observers, and supervisors from the Caribbean Community.
He made this assertion in his most recent column ‘My Turn’ published in the Guyana Chronicle. According to him, it must be made clear that the recount process took so long because it is manually driven.
He sought to explain that each of the 460, 352 ballots from the 2, 339 boxes had to be counted one by one. Apart from that, he also explained that objections had to be heard and observations recorded and all official documents used during polling had to be examined.
“If nothing else, the recount had to be a thorough, painstaking and time-consuming affair, which was done under restrictive conditions at this time as Guyana faces the COVID-19 pandemic,” Nagamootoo added. It is the view of the Prime Minister that the administrative arrangements for the recount process have been as transparent as one could expect.
But, according to him, the same cannot be said for the credibility of the ballots, since over 7,000 claims have been lodged about irregularities and anomalies, including voter impersonation of persons who are deceased or are living in the diaspora.
He said that it seems the bloated voters’ list for the 2020 polls has created the opportunity for the mischief of voter impersonation.
In fact, Nagamootoo wrote, “I can see the 2020 elections becoming the subject of new jokes of how the dead resurrected, and voted. And there would be new ballads or rap songs how, at a time when airports were closed, some Guyanese travelled on broomsticks from overseas, voted and mysteriously disappeared!”
In other words, he added, it is clear that the 35-day recount process has unmasked a calculated and systematic fraud in the elections.
“Voter impersonation on a wide scale has not just defied and defiled the standards of free and fair elections, but exposed Guyana to be ridiculed as a nation with “jumbie, or phantom voters.”
He said, “Assuming that the registered voters realistically were 500,000 (and not 661,000), a turnout of 460,000 would be an incredible 92 per cent, as compared to 40 per cent turnout at the local government elections in November 2018.”
“Indeed, the phantoms had landed. It does not need someone with a microscope to detect that something was so fishy about the 2020 elections that it stinks to the high heavens! It is not only fishy. It is fraudulent” the Prime Minister added.
Nagamootoo further said Guyana, like all other under-developed countries, has experienced the dialectics of migration whereby citizens chose to work and live in the so-called higher economies.
He said, too, “Over decades, we suffered from brain drain, as Guyanese became both political and economic refugees overseas. Over time, family members joined them in the seemingly unending travail in search of better opportunities.”
Analysing how Guyana’s population has suffered, he made reference to recent statistical data in that regard by businessman, Stanley Ming.
Ming’s figures show that the population in 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2012 was 745,000, 751,000, 723,000, 751,000 and 747,000 respectively. This gives an average of 743,000 for the past 42 years from 1970-2012.
Based on the population trend, the Prime Minister said Ming published what he has accepted as credible figures on what the voters list should be, using a fair average of the population at 750,000 for the period 2012-2020.
He said that Ming then constructed a “logical mathematical reality” a voting population of 500,000 after excluding 250,000 children below the age of 18 years. Ming’s projected figures, he added, were based on the 2011 official list of voters which had 475,496 persons, of which 342,236 or 72 percent voted.
He noted that the businessman based his case on the Suriname experience where voters in 2015 and 2020 were 64 percent of the total population. In the same years, in Guyana, voters were 76 percent in 2015 (with population at 767,432) and 84 percent in 2020 (with population at 782,766).
For 2015 and 2020, the number of registered voters was 585,527 and 660,998 respectively.
Moreover, the Prime Minister insists that the elections were not free or credible and placed reliance on the report submitted by Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield to the Chairman of GECOM, Justice (retired) Claudette Singh.
In the report submitted on Saturday, June 13, 2020, Lowenfield concluded that the elections were not free or credible.
“Immediately, before anyone had an opportunity to digest the report, the Opposition PPP literally grabbed the Chief Elections Officer by the throat in a political chokehold, and questioned his right to interpret the multitude of irregularities and observations that led him to the conclusion that the elections were not free or credible, Nagamootoo stated.
“I have walked the journey for electoral democracy over many decades, but little did I expect that towards the end of it, I would again stumble on the crooked rocks of deception and fraud, which the recount has now exposed. It seems that I have been walking in a vicious circle. This time around, it shall not pass scrutiny or judgment. The common resolve of our dignified people must be, “no more rigged elections,” said Nagamootoo in conclusion.