We in OVP are first and foremost truth warriors. We pledged from our inception to tell the people the truth – whether it is popular or not. We have stated on many occasions that we would rather tell the truth and get 100 votes, than lie to the people to get 100,000 votes. We cannot join forces with any persons or organisations that spread deception and lies. We are leaders, not duped followers, no matter what the cost.
While we are well aware of the many flaws and contradictions of the liberal democratic arrangement and electoral system that we inherited from the British colonizers, we decided to participate in what we were told would be free and fair elections, and to abide by the rules laid out by GECOM. We did so not because we were expecting to win, but rather to use the occasion to get our message out and to let as many people as possible know that there is an alternative to the bankrupt politics of the two main parties. We weathered the serious disadvantages experienced by small parties, and our members worked tirelessly to spread our message and campaign with very limited financial resources.
Despite everything being stacked in favour of the two major players, PPP/C and APNU+AFC, and despite the fact that the system is clearly rigged long before we even get to the polls, we took part in good faith. Sadly, today our members and supporters are left feeling angry and disillusioned. It is obvious for all to see that while we abided by the rules of this game we call ‘electoral democracy’, others did not.
We witnessed, first hand, the rules of the game being flagrantly violated. Many of our members and supporters, especially young people who were voting for the first time, have informed us that they will never vote again, as it was a waste of time. They no longer see elections as a viable means of bringing about political change. This does not bode well for Guyana. We must remember the words of John F. Kennedy: “Those who make peaceful change impossible will make violent change inevitable”.
The 2020 elections were as usual reduced to an ‘ethnic contest’. Racial division was dangerously and deceptively utilised by the political elites of both major political formations. Conveniently, this once again distracted the electorate from the real contradictions which exist; oppressor and oppressed, exploiter and exploited, haves and have-nots.
When we reflect on our increasingly tragic political culture, it becomes clear that the trajectory that led us to this moment of crisis was inevitable. Following the close of polls on March 2nd, OVP first appeared on the results table as having 155 votes in Region 1, a region we did not contest. This then quickly disappeared and was replaced with an allocation of 250 votes in the General Election, although we only contested at the regional level. Finally, we were allocated an absurd and most definitely inaccurate 117 votes. The count for Region 4 was halted in the presence of our observers, when only a tiny fraction of the region’s votes had been counted and verified. We join with all patriotic forces demanding that the count in Region 4 be resumed and completed using the verification process prescribed by law.
In the 2015 and 2020 elections, OVP urged the electorate to give APNU+AFC their presidential vote, while giving us their regional vote. We pledged that an OVP-controlled regional council would act as a voice for the people, to keep Central Government in check. Despite serious political and ideological differences with the ruling Coalition, we offered them critical support to prevent the return of a Jagdeo-led PPP/C regime. However, following the events since the close of polls on March 2nd, our National Directorate has taken a decision to withdraw forthwith all support for APNU+AFC.
Gerald A. Perreira
Organization for the Victory of the People