Dear Editor,
ON Sunday February 9, 2020, the PPP held a rally at Stewartville on the West Coast of Demerara. Mr. Jagdeo, while addressing his party’s supporters at that rally made some comments which I consider to be highly inflammatory, reckless and dangerous. He used a portion of his time on stage to question the competency, readiness and fairness of GECOM. One of his many spurious assertions, which I find to be most alarming is this comment; “Whenever I walk around this country, wherever I go, people say to me, ‘we know the PPP will win the elections if the elections are free and fair.’

But will they be free and fair? This is a pressing concern among many Guyanese,” Jagdeo went on to state … “That fear you have is justified, but don’t think that we are taking it lightly.” These were the words uttered by the opposition leader to his supporters. The message and signals encapsulated in these specific words should be enough to ring alarm bells in the minds of GECOM, APNU+AFC and every right-thinking Guyanese. Words matter, more so the words of leaders and those who purport to be leaders, matter!
Allow me to state exactly what concerns me about these words uttered by Mr. Jagdeo. Firstly, since the 23 years of the PPP’s rule in Guyana I have never seen Mr. Jagdeo or the PPP so obsessed with GECOM. Why are they so obsessed with GECOM and its chair? When the PPP was in power they appointed GECOM chairs at different periods. They appointed Doodnauth Singh, Joe Singh and Steve Surujbally. So, why do they now have a problem with Claudette Singh, an experienced and credible professional? I have never heard Jagdeo or the PPP challenge or express any kind of open attack against the men whom they appointed to chair GECOM. Are they obsessed with Claudette Singh because they did not appoint! Let’s not forget that the PPP found her to be a credible and fit nominee, and Mr. Jagdeo consented to her appointment, so why the inexorable attack? Why attack Justice Singh, I wonder whether Jagdeo and the PPP’s brazen attack on the present chairperson of GECOM, Retired Justice Claudette Singh is sexist? Or, is their reason for maligning her even more sinister.


Justice Claudette Singh happens to be the first woman elected to chair this most crucial office, and mere weeks after she was sworn in Mr. Jagdeo and the PPP unleashed a barrage of attacks on her. These attacks are targeted at her competency and integrity. However, Claudette Singh has demonstrated that she can withstand the PPP’s attacks. In analyzing the attacks on Madam Justice Singh, I saw elements of male chauvinistic mantra.

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I therefore, can only conclude that these attacks are also sexist. For centuries women were presumed to be unfit for challenging or deeply complex jobs and so they were deliberately exempted or considered for certain positions. It was a refreshing move when President Granger nominated and appointed Justice Claudette Singh SC, CCH to the post of Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). Justice Singh’s appointment was celebrated by all in Guyana, especially women. The PPP must know that their campaign to discredit her is also a turn-off to women and sends the wrong message to women and girls in Guyana. Again, I have followed the appointment of the chairmen before Justice Claudette Singh and I have never seen this level of attack on any of them. I am appalled that the women in the PPP stand by and watch this unrelenting attack playout in plain sight. Do they believe that a qualified and competent woman cannot carry out the functions of chair of GECOM? With the just concluded Joint Services voting process conducted by GECOM, Justice Claudette Singh has demonstrated that she is more than capable of effectively executing her responsibilities. Jagdeo and the PPP’s challenge to her competency and integrity has been forcefully debunked. Will they even come out and commend Justice Singh for her leadership? I will not hold my breath, they will not stop with their shameless agenda! As a woman I am offended! I watch to see if those in the PPP who are waiting to emerge as presidential candidates in the future will denounce this shameless attack. Their silence will say a lot, it will be a silence that may follow their own political careers
Secondly, I believe Mr. Jagdeo’s most recent rants, at Stewartville can be construed as a threat to GECOM and the Guyanese voters. To state that ‘we know the PPP will win the elections if the elections are free and fair’… don’t think that we are taking it lightly.” Clearly, this is a call by Mr. Jagdeo to question GECOM’s impartiality in the process. Further, his obvious intention is to signal to his supporters that as long as the APNU+AFC is declared to have won the elections then they, the PPP and its supporters must consider the elections rigged. This seems like an openly perfidious appeal! Some may argue it’s a threat against GECOM and the nation! However, I have not heard the ERC on this, maybe they missed Mr.
Jagdeo’s comments. Jagdeo’s words are dangerous and they seem to invite actions that might be most perilous. His comments seem to represent a most severe form of bullying.


This kind of open intimidation must be rejected by any sane person. I hope the note takers from the Carter Center and other observer missions are taking copious notes. Mr. Jagdeo has basically said to PPP supporters, reject the results of the elections if GECOM does not call the elections for the PPP; what lunacy! He believes he gets to determine what constitutes “free and fair” not the people of Guyana. Doesn’t Mr. Jagdeo understand and know that the call he is making is likely to invite unthinkable hate and violence in the country? Doesn’t he know that his efforts to create doubts about GECOM’s ability to conduct free and fair elections in Guyana may invite unprecedented chaos which may leave many of his very supporters worst off? Is Mr. Jagdeo taking steps to deliberately orchestrate violence in Guyana? We have all just witnessed an arson attack on the Sachi building in Georgetown; the jury is still out on a precise motive though there seems to be a hint out there. Jagdeo should be called in and made to explain what exactly he means when he stated to his audience, in response to his fabricated concerns of rigging that “… don’t think we are taking it lightly!” Do the PPP supporters know what he means or will they have to assume what he means? Jagdeo’s words matter and his ambiguities are dangerous! His dog whistles and hints must be placed on a billboard for all to see. The people must see who appears to be the threat to the smooth order of the society. Mr. Jagdeo must know that he will be held accountable for any unwarranted chaos resulting after March 2, 2020. He is clearly saying to GECOM, you declare the PPP the winner or else those elections are not free and fair and we will not take it like that! This sounds like a threat to me! Mr. Jagdeo must know that history is replete with examples of what happens when irresponsible leaders deliberately ignite this kind of ignorance in their followers. There are no winners, and innocent people suffer! I am quite sure the PPP supporters would not want Mr. Jagdeo to take them down this road.

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Editor, I also note the reverse psychology tactic employed by Mr. Jagdeo and his foreign campaign advisers. This strategy seems to come straight out from Donald Trump’s 2016 playbook. The strategy is to cry rig prior to the elections and to attack the elections process in the hope that those in charge of the process will be pressured into declaring him (Trump) the winner, in this case Jagdeo/Irfaan. The plan is to exert so much psychologically targeted allegations on GECOM and its leader, that the leaders at GECOM may feel guilty to actually declare the legitimate winner of the elections, the winner. Mr. Jagdeo must know by now that this strategy is so transparent that the most politically naïve can see through it. The PPP’s relentless attack on GECOM and its chairperson will not work.
The chair has already demonstrated the kind of mettle she is made of. She continues to use her deep knowledge of her constitutional authority to effectively rubbish all of the opposition’s outlandish claims and false accusations. I have been analyzing Jagdeo and the PPP’s “rig claims” for some time now and it is clear that they have intensified their strategy as the elections draw closer. As they see their prospects appear more daunting, their rig claims grow louder! Mr. Jagdeo is no fool, he knows fully well that the PPP’s record in its 23 years of managing Guyana is a terrifying reminder to the people of the heartache they suffered. Hence, the PPP has decided to abandon that record and resort to unfounded rig claims.

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Finally, and the most fundamental point to note in Jagdeo’s comment is his personal fear of losing. He is fighting for himself, his own political survival. He knows that the PPP’s chances of winning the elections are a very long shot. So, like a scared person, he has decided to hide his fear in bullying tactics in the hope that GECOM will bow to his will. The opposition leader’s behaviour provides a good example of why bullies bully. Bullies resort to bullying, because they are cowards, too fearful of rejection and of exposing their own weaknesses. Sadly, Mr. Jagdeo has decided to use the PPP’s supporters as pawns to project his fear and channel his bullying. He has decided to instill his personal fear in them, with the hope that they will become sufficiently fearful and behave as irrational as he. The PPP’s decision to cry foul early and question GECOM’s ability to conduct free and fair elections is most reckless. To sow seeds of distrust and hate is a wicked and dangerous strategy, it is not a winning strategy. I am not saying that Mr. Jagdeo, as opposition must not raise any concerns he may have about the process but to unleash an attack of lies and distrust on GECOM and its chair is thuggish! It may very well invite the other side to become defensive! The PPP’s sordid record will continue to be the albatross around the PPP’s cup; it will be responsible for the party’s defeat at the March 2, 2020 polls. I pray for Guyana.

Lurlene Nestor


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