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August 2, – a day to remember

WITH the passing yesterday of Dr. Roger Luncheon, August 2nd now has a double meaning. Dr. Luncheon, of course, was no stranger to the electoral victory on August 2, 2020, because he gave all he had in him to save democracy from the threat by the APNU+AFC that was fully operational. The PPP/C victory of 2020 was in no small measure due to Roger Luncheon’s dedication, sense of duty to the nation, and to his unfathomable resilience. What an extraordinary and blissful coincidence that he has departed this life on what is no doubt a day in history to remember.

The election saga from March to August 2020 that the APNU+AFC put this country through should never be forgotten. This is particularly so because while the PNC/R, AFC, and some civil society groups talk a lot of democracy, they are in fact agents of authoritarian rule. Worse yet, a small number of the ideologues (David Hinds, Lincoln Lewis) continue to peddle the narratives of freedom solely in Afro-Centric terms, and some in civil society believe that East Indians have no right to govern Guyana.

These backward discourses persist despite the strong presence of Afro-Guyanese support for the PPP/C, and massive contributions by Africans across Guyanese society. Many of you will recall that leading up to the 1992 elections, David Hinds wanted Desmond Hoyte to be the (PCD) consensus candidate on the grounds that Jagan was tainted. He meant that the urban, Afro-Mulatto middle class would rather accept the very president (Hoyte) who had helped to preside over numerous rigged elections, over a man from Port Mourant who has toiled with honesty and dignity for decades to remove the same PNC that the said Desmond Hoyte led. Astounding!

Over the dreary months of March 2-August 2, 2020, the likes of Mingo, Lowenfield, and Myers became celebrities with the authoritarians. They almost became lifelong heroes for those that still nurture the rigging instincts of the Burnham days. They failed because PPP/C supporters stood with resolve, while the PPP/C leadership under presidential candidate Mohamed Irfaan Ali and PPP General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo, mounted a courageous battle to save this nation from impending tyranny.

Too many people were involved in this fight to list names but who could forget the brilliant legal work of Anil Nandlall and Sanjeev Datadin, the towering strength of Sase Gunraj and Bibi Shadik, the tenacity of Sasenarine Singh, Charles Ramson Jr., Rosalinda Rasul, the courage and experience deployed by Sonia Parag and Gail Teixeira and many who now form the cabinet, the moral presence of FITUG leadership, the civil society giants like N.K. Gopaul and Captain Gerry Gouveia, and last but not least, the rank and file of PPP/C supporters who guarded the ballot boxes and containers, provided the logistics, and most of all stood tall in the face of what was an exorable drive towards domination by the APUNU+AFC. Remember David Hinds and his friends wanted to throw out the entire results of the election and simply declare Granger the winner.

The diaspora also played a key role by contacting elected officials in the US Congress, and State Legislatures. Some helped to fund ground operations in Guyana. I know specifically of money raised in Maryland-DC-Virginia area that helped to fund the people who were guarding the ballot box containers. Still others were in direct contact with key officials in the Department of State, right up to Acting Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Ambassador Michael Kozak. I have seen a letter from Ambassador Kozak stated that the APNU+AFC can remain in office only “at their peril.”

For the record, please note the pattern of delaying by the PNC and later APNU+AFC where elections are concerned. This is important for those who might think that the 2020 attempt at election theft was a one-off.
Instance No. 1 – The PNC under Hoyte agreed in December 1989 to hold free and fair elections. The agreement with Carter Centre. The election did not happen until October 1992. – Lapse 1009 days.

Instance No. 2 The no-confidence vote occurred on Dec 21, 2018. The elections did not come until March 2020. Lapse 437 days.
Instance No 3 – The election took place on March 2 and the APNU+AFC did not concede until August 2. Lapse 153 days.
To date, therefore, the PNC-APNU+AFC have spent no less than illegitimate 588 days in office, 1009 days governing in bad faith, and 28 years in rigged or manipulated elections. Between the elections of December 16, 1968, and October 5, 1992, there were 9125 days. Altogether, therefore, the PNC/R has snatched approximately 9715 days from the Guyanese people since the 1968 election. (I did not double count the 1009 days).

March 2-August 2, 2020, was not a side-show for the PNCR/APNU and AFC. The PNC has a long and tortured history of delaying, diverting, and rigging. The people must be on their toes because there is no sign of change for the authoritarians.
Dr. Randolph Persaud