Calls For Government Of National Unity In Guyana, Constitutional Reforms To Prohibit Abuse Of power And Guarantee Minority Rights

Submitted by Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy

President-elect Donald Ramotar

The New York based Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID) is calling for a government of national unity in Guyana and has said the declaration of the preliminary results of the November 28, 2011 general elections will abate angst in the population, which was precipitated by an inordinate three-day delay in announcing the results.  The institute has labeled the Chairman of the Elections Commission and the Chief Election Officer “disgracefully incompetent.”

Yesterday Guyana’s Chief Elections Officer Gocool Boodoo declared that the major opposition APNU garnered 139,678 votes or 40.8% of the vote – 26 seats in parliament;  AFC 35,333, 10.3 % of the vote – 7 seats in Parliament and the incumbent PPP -166,340, 48.6 % of the vote  – 32 seats. TUF got 855 votes and no seat in Parliament.

The ruling PPP won the Presidency based on the plurality of the vote – 48.6% but lost its parliamentary majority after losing 4 seats in the election. It faces a historic and bleak situation of a minority government, returning with only 32 seats, while the opposition APNU and AFC have 33 seats combined.

In a letter to PPP presidential candidate and President-elect Donald Ramotar , copied to the other Presidential candidates, CGID President Rickford Burke today called for unity talks. Telling Ramotar that “Clearly, a 52% majority of the Guyanese electorate rejected your candidacy and the PPP at the polls.” Burke said Ramotar the PPP indubitably lack a legitimate mandate to govern Guyana with a PPP only cabinet. “Suffice it to say that any attempt to do so will be ill-advised and divisive, and should be strongly resisted and challenged by the parliamentary majority.”

He urged that, “in the interest of the nation,” the PPP should enter into immediate consultations with the other parliamentary parties with a view to securing a modus vivendi which will facilitate a government of national unity.” This he said will foster national harmony.

He suggested an arrangement where the PPP would be awarded the Presidency; APNU Prime Minister and AFC Vice President. He also posited that under this scenario cabinet portfolios should be assigned to the parliamentary parties based on the proportionality of votes received, and that heads of government departments, agencies, State boards, etc, be appointed by the President after meaningful consultations with and approval of the Prime Minister and Vice President.

Burke suggested that once a modus vivendi has been worked out in good faith and the Parliament constituted, the constitution be amended to reflect this arrangement and contemporaneously, a constitutional Commission should be appointed to study the 1980 constitution and recommend reforms for enactment by the Parliament within a specific timeframe.

The institute’s head expressed disappointment with the election results which he said “again demonstrate a deeply entrenched predisposition to racial identity politics.” He accused outing President Bharrat Jagdeo, of exploiting this predilection by openly appealing to racial identity politics during the campaign. He called for an end to racial polarization and reminded Ramotar that “our country is now at a crossroads where the campaign ends and governing the country for all Guyanese begins.”

“It is, therefore, incumbent upon all leaders in the Guyanese polity and society, to engage in a deliberate dialogue to address the incommodious issue of politics based on race and cultural identity. He said the outcome must be “constitutional enshrinement of enforceable prohibitions against abuses as well as enumerated guarantees of minority rights.” He added that “rapprochement” will strengthen Guyana’s democracy.”

He said that the all Guyanese yearn to leave behind the dubious, immediate past which was mired in bad governance, corruption, racial bias, un-developed social structures, a lack-luster economy and a polarized society. Challenging Ramotar and the other candidates to “act like the statesmen that Guyana deserves,” he called for immediately discussions to develop a “denouement” that would bring about “national cohesion and all-inclusive governance.”

Telling the leaders “This is your moment to do something big for the country, Burke a Guyanese national, said such a move will “restore unity and good governance to Guyana.”

Contact Jevon Suralie

Director of Communications

Tel: 347-202-9531

0 thoughts on “Calls For Government Of National Unity In Guyana, Constitutional Reforms To Prohibit Abuse Of power And Guarantee Minority Rights

  1. WHO is Daniel Raymoutgottar???
    WHERE is his origins ???
    WHAT is his philosphy ??
    IS he a regionalist ??
    WHY have I not heard about this man before ??

  2. Interesting perspective on post-elections happenings.

    175,011 is a number higher than 166,340
    December 2, 2011 | By KNews | Filed Under Features / Columnists, Freddie Kissoon
    We don’t know what is going to happen in Guyana as the months and years move on. The opposition-controlled Parliament could topple the Ramotar presidency through a vote of no-confidence, thereby requiring another general election. On the other hand, Mr. Ramotar could carve out a working relationship with the combined opposition of APNU and AFC.It is difficult to see a major split or even an ongoing dispute between APNU and AFC. I know the players in the smaller AFC very well and I cannot see any formidable chasm separating APNU and the AFC in what they want for Guyana.It means, therefore, that the combined opposition is going to engage Mr. Ramotar on the contention that more than half of the electorate voted for them and not the PPP, therefore the President should listen to what they have in their list of demands. The figures of the difference in votes are contained in the caption above.The combined opposition got 51 percent of the votes. That is, of course, if you do not accept APNU’s contention that it lost votes because of skullduggery.The first thing President Ramotar has to do is to look at the reality. It is there for the world to see – more voters chose the combined opposition than the PPP/C, therefore President Ramotar does not have a majority in Parliament.At the time of writing, the leadership of APNU and AFC were meeting at Congress Place. I don’t know what they are talking about, but I can tell you what is on the mind of an influential voice in the AFC – Nigel Hughes. We were talking yesterday in court at the resumption of the President’s libel suit. He is adamant that on the basis of the vote, African Guyanese rejected the Indian-dominated PPP and voted for the African-oriented APNU, therefore the opposition must insist on constitutional changes.Obviously, President Ramotar cannot accept everything in the menu of measures by the opposition. By the same token, the opposition cannot support President Ramotar’s legislative agenda as if the ruling PPP/C is in charge of Parliament. Where in the world does a minority government just sit back and get its way in a legislature dominated by the opposition? So what will happen tomorrow? There could only be one pathway – concessions, compromise and nationalist pursuits on both sides. There is no alternative.One would like to think that Mr. Ramotar will want to have a period of a prolonged presidency rather than accept a vote of no-confidence and in three month’s time we are back on the election trail. Concurrently, one doubts very much that APNU and AFC will be in the election mood for a long time to come.So all three parties will not want to return to the campaign arena. The last election was a grueling one, and to go back on that train is indeed a daunting prospect.So Ramotar will want a few years of the presidency and APNU and AFC will not be happy to start another election drama. The common thread will be compromise. But can there be compromise without the implementation of the desires of the electorate? We thus return to the figures in the title. Can APNU and the AFC negotiate a common destiny for Guyana without taking into consideration what their supporters demanded of them?This columnist followed the campaign of both APNU and AFC closely. There was a relentless attack on Mr. Jagdeo’s post-presidency pension. There was the promise from both APNU and AFC that if they win the poll, they would reduce the magnitude of the package. (Laws, however, cannot be made retroactively). Both parties control Parliament by a simple majority. Could they continue for the coming months and years without using their parliamentary clout to reduce Mr. Jagdeo’s goodies? They can, but will it not go down well with their supporters. Will their supporters stick with them without the emotional charge of betrayal?Then there is the question of the opposition’s attitude to the state media – Chronicle and NCN. Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine on the campaign road, called NCN, the National Criminal Network. The opposition hates what the Chronicle has become. Could APNU and AFC control Parliament, live side by side with President Ramotar, and accept the graphically unprofessional nature of these two media houses? The answer is yes, but will their supporters accept their position?So there are some troubling grey areas in the start of Guyana’s new dawn. How the main actors traverse these bumpy roads will determine whether we have a stable society or a very troubled one.
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  3. Here it comes!

    —– Forwarded Message —–From:
    Sent: Friday, 2 December 2011, 22:11Subject:
    The election that was held on 28th Nov 2011 was rigged by the PPP and GECOM. When one rigs an election from a minority base he has to take large blocks of votes away from the majority and so his rigging is easily detected. On the other hand when one rigs from a large base he does not have to take away votes from the minority. He only has to keep his base numbers high and this not easily detectable. That is why observers have a difficulty catching the PPP at rigging.
    During the elections campaign the traditional PPP supporter stayed away from PPP meetings so much so that the PPP had to “rig” crowds at its rallies. When PPP supporters stayed away from the polls the PPP had to rig the elections.
    The report that follows is my own finding which are based on my personal experience on elections day.
    Voter Turnout
    The voter turnout in APNU strongholds was very high as was evident from the large crowds seen at the polling places throughout the morning. That was in stark contrast to PPP strongholds where only small groups of voters were seen. Yet according to the Statements of Poll the turnout in PPP areas was high. How is such a contradiction possible? The answer lies in the rigging process such as multiple voting and phantom voting.
    Multiple Voting
    Multiple voting was facilitated through several mechanisms and those were as follow:
    As many as 8 polling stations were located in a building. The voters list for that polling place was split alphabetically which meant each station was supposed to have just a section of the list so that a voter’s name can only appear once at the entire polling place. However each station had the entire list which meant that a voter’s name appeared at each station. The situation was created where by a voter could vote at each station, as many as 4 to 8 times depending on the size of the building.
    The indelible ink that was used to stain voters’ index finger was found in many cases to take as long as 15 to 20 minutes to be effective. In other cases the stain was easily removed. Again the situation was created for an elector to vote multiple times.
    I dealt with one case on elections day where at Timehri Primary School on the East Bank Demerara a group of 26 PPP supporters were detected voting at least twice. Their names appeared on the lists of all the polling stations located in the building and the ink was slow to stain the finger. So multiple voting did take place and it was widespread.
    I saw a group of PPP supporters being briefed outside West Demerara Secondary School. I got reports of groups of young PPP supporters being moved around on the East Bank Essequibo.
    Buying Voters ID Card
    At West Demerara Secondary School I saw PPP activists with a briefcase full of Voter ID Cards. They were distributing the cards to a group of PPP supporters. Voters also received a slip of paper which they had to present later for payment. The same set of PPP activists also went to Vreed En Hoop Primary School where they distributed ID cards to their supporters. Many voters later complained of receiving some counterfeit notes with their payment. Some shopkeepers also said they received counterfeit $1000.00 notes.
    GECOM Created Obstacles to Polling Agents.
    Since 1992 it was always the practice of GECOM to issue Letters of Employment to Polling Agents to enable them to vote at the station they were working at rather than where they were registered. Two days before elections GECOM aborted that practice by refusing to issue Letters of Employment. It meant that polling Agents would be late, would leave the polling station, or don’t show up at all if they had to work outside of their registered districts. That created a window of opportunity for PPP allied polling officials to mark up ballots for the PPP. Opposition polling agent were absent from most stations in the Amerindian communites.
    Polling Places Located At Homes Of PPP Supporters.
    Although our population has been declining, and as a consequence our national list of electors has stagnated or declined, GECOM increased the number of polling places, especially on the East Coast of Demerara, Region 4. There, newly created polling places, most a few days before elections, were located at the homes of known PPP supporters. This was done to facilitate phantom voting to counter APNU strongholds in Region 4.
    PPP Controlled GECOM.
    In PPP strongholds the GECOM polling staff comprised PPP members and supporters. The Rural Constables who provided security at polling places were also under the control of the PPP. The PPP utilized the structure and resources of the Neighborhood Democratic Councils (NDC). The NDC chairmen were the persons who were in command of the rigging operation. In every report I got of irregularities and breaches of the law the main culprits were the NDC chairmen.
    At Silk Cotton Dam, Zeelugt, EBE, a NDC chairman had a gang of young PPP supporters whom he used to threaten to kill APNU officials if they did not leave the polling places. At Diamond EBD it was the NDC chairman who supervised the tampering of ballot boxes and the removal of the envelopes containing Statements of Poll on Wed 30th Nov. That was the EBD area where the PPP had called for a recount.
    PPP Phantom Voting.
    PPP phantom voting is a phenomena whereby an elector votes without ever setting foot in the polling station or signing a proxy form. Phantom Voting is done by PPP allied polling officials who mark ballots for the PPP in the absence of polling agents, or in many cases by simply conning the agents. Care is taken not to exceed the numbers on the polling station list as that would raise a red flag with the Local and International Observers.
    Due to lack of opposition polling agents the PPP captured the Amerindian votes through phantom voting.
    Ballot Box Tampering
    On Tue 29th Nov concerned citizens reported that ballot boxes were being tampered with at North Ruimveldt Multilateral School in which all the ballot boxes for District 4 South Georgetown were stored by GECOM. APNU was able to obtain 11 broken ballot box seals from someone who smuggled them past heavily armed police. That was the same district that the PPP wanted a recount after its agent “fixed” the votes.
    Ballot Boxes Found On The West Demerara.
    On Wed 30th Nov one ballot box was found at Vreed En Hoop, West Coast Demerara, and another was found at Versailles West Bank Demerara, Region 3. The finds were made after Police had searched the homes of 2 PPP activists in the area for ballot boxes. Homes were also searched for ID cards. It was clear that PPP personnel were involved in nefarious activities with ballot boxes and ID cards.
    PPP Calls For Recount
    The PPP had called for a recount of ballots on the West Demerara, South Georgetown, and East Bank Demerara. Those were the locations where ballot boxes were tampered with after polling and after being secured by GECOM. It was clear that the PPP called for a recount after it had “fixed” the ballots in its favour.
    Statements Of Poll.
    The Statements of Poll (SOPs) are the most important document generated during the electoral process. They are a count of the votes and are the basis on which the election results are tabulated and declared. The SOPs do not reflect multiple and phantom voting. Those have to be detected on the ground and objections must be raised immediately to stop the fraud. If multiple and phantom voting are not detected then the elections appear to be good and so the rigging cannot be detected on the SOPs, especially when, as is the case of the PPP, you have the largest bloc of traditional voters and you just have to keep your numbers high but do not exceed the list.
    The APNU won the elections. Our supporters came out early in large numbers to vote all over Guyana. The PPP traditional supporters turned out in small numbers. In Jagdeo’s home village of Unity, Mahaica, ECD, out of 484 electors, only 184 showed up to vote. I saw people straggling to vote in the PPP traditional strongholds, but just as the PPP “rigged” its rallies, it had to resort to multiple and phantom voting to rig the numbers in their strongholds and the Amerindian communites, and so rig the elections. The regime has stolen the elections and the government from APNU.
    We want justice. We want our election that we won. We want the Presidency and the Government which we won by the ballots. But we are willing to share the Government in the interest of peace and unity, and so we demand POWER SHARING.
    Malcolm Harripaul

  4. Any Tom, Dick or Harry knows the polarization and distrust has ethnicity at its root. Why else would the newly elected PPP/C President form a minority cabinet when the general assembly is opposition controlled? Look for more trouble ahead.

  5. Profile: He has none. He is a party hack. He is the most unqualified to ever become the leader of a Commonwealth Caribbean Nation

    Ramotuar was the PPP party chairman, and orchestrated the policy to marginalize African Guyanese. His son hit Freddie Kissoon’s nephew with his car, broke his hip and legs, and refused to even talk to the police when they came to investigate. No where in this world, except maybe Russia or North Korea, could someone like this become the leader of a nation. z

    The PPP in conjunction with the two Indian leaders of GECOM, Surujbally and Boodhoo, and aided and abetted by Gerry Gouviea a fellow racist, when they discovered that they were loosing the Presidency, rigged the vote count. They took more than three days to count just over three hundred thousand ballots. They refused to released the Statement of the Polls for verification, or to explain its inconsistency with the final figures they tabulated. People in the Caribbean always scream about the PNC stealing elections. Well the PPP has been stealing elections since 1961, and they stole every election they won except the one in 1992.

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