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Reply to "COULD DR BISRAM SAY WHY JAGAN/PPP KEPT THE FRUIT OF RIGGING ? THE “ BURNHAM “ 1980 CONSTITUTION"

It is still not understood why the effort to rig the election was after, rather than on Election Day

April 26 ,2022

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Friends were recently reminiscing about the attempted rigging of the March 2020 elections. Rigging (wholesale electoral fraud, manipulation of the electoral list, voter count, ballot stuffing, capturing of polling stations and ballot boxes, changing of count, switching ballots, etc.) is not exclusive to many countries. We have experienced almost all of the preceding in Guyana in elections from 1968. One political party was primarily responsible for those kinds of activities in Guyana.

The rigging in Guyana in the elections of 1968, 1973, 1978 (referendum), 1980, and 1985 took place before the actual date of the elections. The incumbent could not win with the rigging (ballot box stuffing) in 1992 because the margin was too large to make up. Pre-rigging was difficult as the Carter Center monitored the voters’ list. Reputable observers were watching, making it very difficult to engage in massive fraud to claim a victory as in earlier elections. It was almost impossible to rig some 10% of the vote on Election Day. There was some rigging like booth capturing in traditional strongholds of one party. The riggings of pre-1992 were well planned and executed making victory possible especially when western powers were on the side of the regime to keep out the communists. In 1992, the western powers demanded free and fair elections because the communists were no longer a threat to western interests. Massive rigging was not permitted, and therefore it was impossible for the incumbent to manipulate the numbers to such an extent to win over 50% when its traditional base had consistently remained around 40%.

The coalition won in 2015 because of some 11% brought by AFC. The coalition lost support when it closed the four estates, terminated Amerindian and Indian workers at other jobs, denied the rice farmers the promised minimum price of some $9000 a bag for paddy, arrogance of Ministers, the refusal of AFC to stand up to eye-pass of its supporters, over-taxation, poorly negotiated oil contract, hiding the US$18 M oil bonus, among other factors.

If the leadership or high officials of the regime felt they were going to win the elections, they fooled themselves. Victory was not possible without rigging. In fact, it was hinted at a meeting in Atlanta two years earlier that in order for the coalition to win, it had to rig as it did pre-1992. Any plan to rig the 2020 election through manipulation of voter IDs and the voters’ list was circumvented in the defeat of the December 2018 NCM election and the reversal by the CCJ of the validation by the (2-1) Court of Appeal of the appointment of Patterson as Chair of GECOM.  Had the coalition won the no confidence motion and or the ruling on Patterson’s appointment, the coalition would have a free reign ‘to win’ the election. The no confidence motion saved the country from a rigging and a return of the pre-1992 system of governance.

Nevertheless, the coalition must have still felt it could or would ‘win’ the election through electoral manipulation. Having known and recognized that it had to rig to win, it cannot be understood why the effort was made to rig the outcome after the election rather than on Election Day or before the count or during the initial count. When it became clear that the regime had lost, then it attempted to rig the count to certify the count (SOPs). This led to former Jamaican PM Bruce Golding saying he had never seen such a transparent attempt to rig an election. It was done under public glare. The shame and embarrassment did not bother the officials or leaders involved in the attempted rigging.

Sincerely,

Vishnu Bisram (PhD Pol Sci)

Django
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