GTUC wants recount of votes to reflect the ‘true will’ of the people

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See below full statement issued by General Secretary of the Guyana Trade Union Congress (GTUC) Lincoln Lewis:

Guyana’s rigged election mantra

-some say Mingo, some say Jagdeo

In this month of May, when we celebrate Labour and Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow, a man with a primary school education, you are remined that it was the workers, led by him who fought for universal adult suffrage (one man one vote) and internal self-government in the 20th century. When Critchlow started this journey in 1926 Cheddie Jagan was a boy and Forbes Burnham a toddler. Labour is not going to give up this legacy, this fight in 2020. This is why I am here today.

Labour is a stakeholder in the General and Regional Elections. What this election means to Guyana is which group will have control over the national pie/oil and gas revenue, the most significant economic platform of these times. Labour is concerned about the equitable distribution of these resources to the benefit of the working class of Guyana.

Labour’s interest lies in day-to-day good governance of the society. We want to see meaning given to Article 13 of the Guyana Constitution, which came out of the 1997 elections. Our interest is in the devolution of power from the Executive right down to the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils. We also demand fullest meaning to inclusionary democracy as outlined in Articles 75 and 76 that give greater financial autonomy throughout the existing de-centralised political system.

The 2020 Election has concerns, appropriately summarised in a rigged election mantra where some say Mingo, some say Jagdeo:-

It has become a weapon used for division, moving from a final count in March to where we are now seeking a National Recount based on claims made by both sides. All evidence points to both sides still not being satisfied, and none prepared to yield to the other. There is information and misinformation and both sides can’t be right saying two different things.

Apart from the evident misinformation campaign throughout this electoral process they are strong claims of electoral rigging and fraud by both sides. Some say Mingo. Some say Jagdeo. So far it seems this recount will end with the same mantra- some saying Mingo, some saying Jagdeo, leaving all Guyanese cheated and angry either by Mingo or Jagdeo.

The workers of this country are the ones who are caught in this tug of war between the two major forces. At the end of the day the politicians will continue to hobnob whilst the citizens, if they are not careful, bear the brunt of the animosity being generated from this unwholesome process. It need not be so.

The Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) is deeply concerned about the peace, security and stability of the nation and about the future of every worker in this country. I don’t care which union they belong to. I don’t care about the colour of their skin, the texture of their hair, their political affiliation or which region they come from.

Politics affect every worker’s life-past, present and potential. Therefore, this electoral issue, which is likely to impact the lives of all workers, our youth, our pensioners. This remains at the core of the concern of the Labour Movement that fought to secure local governance and the right of every worker/individual to participate and have their vote counted. One man one vote. I say one eligible man, one vote- not a missing man or woman (that is one who never existed, deceased or is absent from jurisdiction). One valid vote, correctly stamped and identified against a valid identity number or affidavit.

Any matter affecting the living conditions of any worker must be of concern to every worker. Regardless of labour’s differences, whether some may want to say it or not, we all have a horse in the race. I say today that labour must remain united in principle around the well-being of every worker in this country. So, I am here to express that concern to all who hear me- the future of Guyana, of every citizen, must be paramount.

The process that GECOM has bent over to facilitate in the interest of Guyana’s well-being must not be treated with lightly or trampled upon by anyone, local or international. We must be guided not by emotions and self-interest but by the Rule of Law and national interest. This recount is governed by gazetted Order of 4th May. GECOM must be allowed to function within the scope of the laws that govern its operation. No more, no less!

Out of this election we want to have the true will of the people represented. We want not just figures. We want to know how the figures were arrived, what influenced the numbers. Some say Mingo. Some say Jagdeo. Regardless of what method was used, one way or the other, it speaks to credibility of the process and true reflection of the people’s will.

Unless the credibility of every ballot cast, counted or not counted, private citizens and joint services vote can be determined then the issue of credibility remains unresolved. We want to know every elector identified and unidentified, every legal required documentation present or missing in the ballot box confirming/not confirming the ballot process. These are basic conditionalities to determine accuracy, credibility and that the will of the people expressed at any stage of the electoral process can be credibly declared. Some say Mingo, some say Jagdeo. Either would be wrong.

I am bound as a trade unionist, following in Critchlow’s footsteps, to speak to this issue and protect this important legacy that he has given all Guyanese.

 

Lincoln Lewis

General Secretary

30th May 2020

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