Dear Mr. Lowenfield,
I write you as a fellow Guyanese directly and publicly in the interest of our nation, in the name of justice and democracy for all of our people.
I have been a politician for many decades and have witnessed much with regards to elections in our country.
I have experienced the rigging of the referendum in 1978, the rigged elections of 1980 and 1985 and the first free and fair elections of October 1992, as well as the elections of 1997 and 2001, which were marred by violence. I have witnessed the 2006 elections, which were held during the most violent crime wave our country had ever experienced, and, the elections of 2011 and 2015.
Rigging with stuffed ballot boxes, denial of people to vote, dead voting, and all the shenanigans from 1968-1985 to steal the right of the Guyanese to choose their representatives to govern are outrages I have witnessed.
However, during the last 115-plus days, nothing has prepared me for what I have witnessed in these elections. Nor may I say, has the majority of the population being able to wrap their heads around what has been transpiring openly and brazenly before their eyes like a never ending ghoulish suspense thriller.
The March 2, 2020 General and Regional Election Day demonstrated and fortified our belief that all the strenuous and dedicated efforts by many across the political divide over many years to bring in a legal architecture that enshrined the will of the Guyanese people to vote at free, fair and transparent elections, under the management of a constitutional body, the Guyana Elections Commission, had been proven unshakeable.
The integrity of the election machinery and the process is like oxygen for our nation, for the well-being of our nation. It is what separates us from the descent into anarchy. This principle has been upheld repeatedly by outstanding Guyanese jurists, who underlined the sacrosanct nature of the right to vote and the will of the people to choose their representatives to govern them at periodic intervals. Thus no one has the authority to undermine, remove or tamper with their votes as defined by law.
Yet following the count at the 2,339 polling stations on March 2, 2020 and the tabulation of 9 of the 10 Electoral Districts, the unimaginable started to unfold and has continued before our very eyes.
What is clear is that high officials within the GECOM Secretariat, the body that has been entrusted by the people and the Constitution to protect the will of the people, are the very source of election fraud.
You, sir, as the Chief Election Officer, have on four separate occasions contrived to derail the election results of March 2, 2020 and produced fraudulent results in order to shepherd the loser, the Granger-led APNU+AFC Coalition, back into office.
On March 6, 2002 you quickly moved to prepare the declaration based on the fraudulent spreadsheet by the Region Four Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo. You and Mr. Mingo were stopped by an injunction and ordered to comply with the law.
Mr. Mingo’s fraudulent declarations on March 5, 2020 and, again, on March 13, 2020 were rejected. The March 13, 2020 fraudulent declaration removed 3,847 valid votes from the PPP/C and added some 19,070 mystic voters for the APNU+AFC Coalition. Still, you hurriedly repeated these results on March 14, 2020, despite the Chief Justice’s ruling and condemnation from the international electoral observer missions, the local observers and the contesting political parties.
The presence of the CARICOM Chair and Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, with four Heads of Government a few days before, did not dissuade you from committing such an affront.
Each of the international election observer missions – the Commonwealth, the Organization of American States (OAS), the European Union, CARICOM and the Carter Center –included in their reports that election day and the counting of the votes at each polling station the same night were free and fair, but the process of the tabulation of the results of one Electoral District, District 4, was not credible and must not be used to swear in a new government.
The head of the OAS election observer missions, former Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, in reporting to the OAS Permanent Council, stated that he “had never seen a more transparent effort to alter the results of an election.” He proceeded to demonstrate that the SOPs and SORs during the recount were exposing the fraudulent figures of the RO for Electoral District 4. “You know it takes an extraordinarily courageous mind to present fictitious numbers when such a sturdy paper trail exists,” Mr. Golding asserted.
Yet on June 12, 2020, on the eve of when you were required to submit the report of the results of the recount (in keeping with Order #60/2020), de facto President Granger informed the public that he was satisfied with the accuracy of the Mingo figures and your March 14th results.
You submitted, on June 13, 2020, a report to the Chair of the Elections Commission that presented the tabulated results of the recount of the General and 10 Regions signed by the GECOM staff and political party representatives. But then you did the unthinkable you then arrogated to yourself god-like powers and disenfranchised 275,092 valid voters purely on what are mere baseless and unproven allegations of the APNU+AFC! You reduced the total number of valid votes recounted from 460,352 to 185,260 and then awarding 125,010 votes (67.5%) to the APNU+AFC Coalition and 56,627 votes to the PPP/C (30.5%) with the remainder allotted to the other parties. This irrationality can only be described as akin to the work of the archetypal mad scientist.
You appropriated to yourself powers that no Chief Election Officer in the world has dared to do even in the most undemocratic regimes. May I add in fact no court of law nor Head of State or Government has the power to do what you did.
The CARICOM Scrutinizing Team’s report on June 15, 2020, concluded that the “Team was of the unshakeable belief that the people of Guyana expressed their will at the ballot box on March 2 and that the results of the recount certified as valid by the staff of GECOM led to an orderly conclusion on which the declaration of the results of the Election would be made.”
You refused to obey the instruction of the Chair of the Commission to produce the results of the recount with regards to seat allocations on June 18, 2020.
Clearly not confined in any way by the report of CARICOM, the legitimate observer mission, you proceeded (while a stay from the court was in effect) to present a new set of figures to the Chair again on June 23, 2020 in which you adjusted your own figures and reduced the numbers of disenfranchised valid votes from 275,092 to 115, 844!
On what unfathomable, inexplicable, grounds were you able to do this?
Prime Minister Mottley on June 24, 2020 in her broadcast on behalf of the Caribbean Community, poignantly said, “Therefore we must ask – on what grounds and by what form of executive fiat does the Chief Elections Officer determine that he should invalidate 1 vote, far less over 115 000 votes when the votes were already certified as valid by officers of the Guyana Elections Commission in the presence of the political parties.… any attempt to provide numbers different from those certified by the staff of GECOM has left many in shock and wondering what next will happen to frustrate the will of the Guyanese people.”
On June 26th, you issued a press statement in which you stated that “While the Commission makes certain policy decisions and provides guidance to the Chief Election Officer for implementation by the Secretariat, I have to execute my duties as a Constitutional Officer, particularly in the conduct of Elections.” In fact, you are a statutory officer you are not a constitutional officer. You serve the Commission not the other way round.
But tell me how is it in the 2015 elections as Chief Election Officer, during your announcement of the results, you said you had some concerns with some counterfeit statements of polls from districts across the country; some of the statements that were delivered to GECOM were not on the same quality of paper on which the original statements were printed and the ones that the Commission approved and a few statements of poll were void of specific security features that characterize GECOM’s official paper. However, you proceeded to say that the votes contained on those statements were not enough to change the outcome of the elections (note this was a close run race with less than 1% difference of votes between the PPP/C and the APNU+AFC). Both you and the Chairman, Dr. Steve Surujbally were quoted in the media as saying that the votes reflected on those statements could not change the overall outcome of the elections, “no change would deprive APNU+AFC of a victory.” Is that why you used every legal opportunity to block the PPP/C election petition from being heard over the last 5 years?
Sir, you are guilty of embarrassing our people, our nation in front of the entire Caribbean and the world. I have tried to anaylse what kind of person, what kind of mind, would do this to his own people, his own nation, to take away their right to choose. Knowing that by these very actions you pitch Guyana and its people into a dangerous path.
This is a level of depravity that few can imagine. It is the working of a sinister mind of such enormous proportions that we mortals cannot fathom. I have tried to reach into the depths of my mind and try to comprehend how another human who holds public office, who people have placed their trust in could do this. Some have said that it is because of political partisanship, others promises of rewards when the deed succeeds and the APNU+AFC Coalition’s presidential candidate is sworn in.
When the chips fall, you sir will bear the full responsibility for the direction Guyana descends to, a rogue state, a dictatorship. Are you willing to live with the consequences of your deeds on innocent people and children?
It is time for the sake of all of our people, our nation, to redeem yourself and obey the Constitution and laws of Guyana which protect every voter and every vote. To do otherwise is your choice and the people will judge you for generations to come.