Tony Vieira's Comments
22 October 2017

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The Impending Explosion
(Aired 6 September 2005)

    For several months now I have been expecting an explosion in this country. The acts of bad faith and the contempt that the ruling PPP has shown for the opposition just could not last without a reaction. All the gains made in the Herdmenston Accord, the St. Lucia Statement, the Constitutional Reform process, the Dialog and the Communiqué have all been thrown into the Demerara River by the PPP. Even the World Bank has now said that even though Guyana has all of the structures it needs to put good governance in place, we still do not have it because we are not implementing what we have already agreed to. So what I am saying here tonight is what the International Financial Institutions are saying, and not just my opinion.

    I began to wonder if the PNC would ever wake up and say "enough is enough" before elections, since the 2006 elections to my mind shows every indication of being set up for rigging by the PPP. They are resisting too many fundamental steps which were necessary to ensure that the elections were free and fair, for this not to be so.

   Twice before I have had to ask the public what is wrong with our Elections Commission Chairman, in a commentary I did since 7th September 2002 I accused him of two transgressions unbecoming of the Chairman of GECOM one when his actions seemed to me to be inconsistent with being fair and impartial since he was guilty of conducting an open verbal confrontation with Jerome Khan an executive member of the PNC and on the other occasion after he was recorded in the media as telling Sir Paul Reeves, the representative of the British Commonwealth Secretary General, that elements in the local media were quote " being conduits of malice and agitators of discontent" and that quote "one recognises the perpetual arguments between unbridled freedom for the media to operate and accusations of media muzzling, but it would be preferred at this time in our history and development, to consider advocating appropriate restriction [to free speech] so that anarchical tendencies could be nipped in the bud" so this man who is our Elections Commission Chairman was not condemning the unbridled lawlessness of the PPP who are using the money from the Consolidated fund, to which Guyanese of all ethnic backgrounds contribute with their taxes and duties they pay on clothes, shoes, food, television sets, VCR's etc.,  to fund the state owned television media and to hold a monopoly of radio for themselves, which in effect meant that the PPP were financing restrictions to free speech in this country, using money from the consolidated fund for the sole purpose of enhancing the government's propaganda machinery, at the expense of the taxpayers in Guyana most of whom are not their supporters.

   Surujbally did not see any of this, what he visualised was the implementation of a systematic method of muzzling the private media in this country so that they could not tell the Afro Guyanese how they were being mistreated by the PPP.

   My understanding is that we are paying Surujbally 8,000 US dollars a month plus perks and since 2000 when he was appointed to be Chairman of our Elections Commission he did not hold one election, not even a neighbourhood council election, not one municipal election, even though we were paying him this huge salary, he was taking it and he was not doing anything for it, that's dishonest ladies and gentlemen.

    The National list is a mess, and despite clear agreements made by the stake holders three years ago to initiate continuous registration, including the finger printing of the voters on the national list, nothing has been done and we heard nothing from Surujbally about any of this, and I for one consider it his constitutional responsibility to keep telling the public why he was constrained in carrying out this important function, be it budgetary or otherwise, until something was done, if he was being starved for funds and could not function as he was supposed to do under the law, he should have done the honourable thing and resigned, but he did not do the honourable thing he continued to take these huge pay checks and perks and did nothing! Now remember that Surujbally appointment is a constitutional one, he is obligated to insist, publicly if necessary, that he be given the money to uphold the constitution, did any of you hear his plea. Oh no he just kept taking the huge salary the PPP Government were paying him and betrayed his constitutional responsibilities.

   His preoccupation with muzzling the electronic media and his open confrontations with executive members of the PNC, now take on a sinister aspect.

   So ladies and gentlemen you tell me how impartial this chairman of GECOM is. His performance or lack thereof and his public utterances leave me with no doubt that he is an excuse maker for the PPP, and since September 7th 2002 when I wrote that commentary I would have demanded his resignation if I were the leader of the opposition

   On Friday 2nd of September 2005 exactly 3 years and 5 days after I decided that this GECOM Chairman was not impartial and that he had to be watched carefully, the leader of the opposition Mr. Robert Corbin made it pellucidly clear that the opposition were not going to accept the ridiculous situation with the list as it now stands nor will they accept that there has been no ongoing continuous registration, he claims that Surujbally was not doing what he was supposed to do, that he was not even in Guyana at this critical time, Corbin says that he knows not where he is, well Robert I am in receipt of unsubstantiated reports that he is in Tobago where he is allegedly building a new house, Mr. Corbin Informs us that the PNC would not be responsible for the consequences of these attempts to sway the elections into the area of fraud and that they [the PPP and Surujbally] should get their act together or else.

   The consequences of not doing all that is necessary to guarantee free and fair elections next year is clearly outlined by Corbin and I quote him "we insist that the expectations of the major stake holders for free and fair and transparent elections must be met"

   Does Corbin hint at the consequences that will occur if this does not happen just in case the PPP thinks that he is just blowing off steam, I believe that he does when he says that quote "we believe that we must all raise our voices and insist on transparency and fairness in the electoral process, and so avoid the disharmony and dislocation that has attended recent elections"

   It is also clear that Mr. Corbin is insisting that the agreement made three years ago to have fingerprint identification as an integral part of the next election process is non negotiable and given our history of fraudulent elections I think that the time has come to examine the possibility carefully, far too much shenanigans went on in this country during elections since 1966 so his calls for a better more secure system is absolutely essential and whatever happened in the past, we have to rectify it now, since any hint that the elections were flawed because people who have migrated are still voting in Guyana today can have dire consequences for us all.