by Zena Henry
Former Agriculture Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy believes that international players engineered the outcome of Guyana’s just concluded general elections because at least one of them wants to put its hand on the oil industry.
Expressing his non-acceptance of the 2015 results, Ramsammy on his Facebook page claimed that the “ Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and the International Observers seemed more concerned about expediency of an early release of results than ensuring the integrity of the elections and securing the democratic rights of citizens.”
In the twelve-paragraph article headlined, “Is oil now reason for rigged elections?” the former Minister, who is an American citizen, noted that in the vulgar haste to produce an early result Guyana may have been gifted, “with another government born out of fraud and rigging.”
“We do not believe that these suspicious elections results, however, were merely out of expediency to obtain an early result. We believe that there was an unholy alliance to ensure Guyana gifted certain stakeholders with a government, not of, by and for the people, but for international stakeholders. We believe this to be the case because one or more of these international stakeholders is interested in Guyana’s oil deposits.”
Ramsammy’s position comes against the background of the recent promising discovery of hydrocarbons in a concession offshore Guyana by the American firm, Exxon-Mobil.
Over the last three years, the United States (US) has been holding a number of workshops and seminars focusing on the importance of transparency and accountability to avoid corruption should Guyana become an oil producer. The PPPC-led administration had been repeatedly accused of turning a blind eye to corruption.
Back in the 1950s and 60s when the PPP was displaced from office, it had accused “big business”, “the West” and the “media” of conspiring to oust it from power.
Ramsammy’s remarks signal that the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is still suffering from the ‘upset stomach’ loss it endured at the 2015 General and Regional Elections.
The party which loss to the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition after 23 –years in power is claiming several irregularities during the 2015 polls.
The party is holding out that the elections were fraudulent and rigged, and suggested that the final results may have been announced in the favour of certain stakeholders.
The former Minister is adamant however that, “after the counting and the transfer of statements of poll to the Deputy Returning Officers and then on to GECOM something happened to change the votes and alter the results of the elections.”
He said the suspicion that something happened that could have altered the votes gained in the elections was heightened by the admission by GECOM, through its Chairman Dr. Steve Surujbally and through the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield that there were fake and fraudulent statements of poll. “No one really told the nation how many of these fake SOPs were found, for which box and which division and whether the votes for political parties corresponded with the authentic SOPs,” Ramsammy claimed.
He insisted that, the discovery of even one fake statement of poll should have triggered a forensic audit immediately that involved all stakeholders. There should have been an inquiry immediately to find out how and by whom these fraudulent SOPs were introduced within the architecture of GECOM. Ramsammy claimed that, “In jurisdictions like the USA, it would have halted all proceedings until all questions were answered and determination made as to the extent of the compromise.”
He suggested that, “The Chairman, the Commission and the CEO should never have allowed a declaration of the results of the elections without comprehensively discounting that these fake SOPs had no influence on the results.”
The former ruling party has not ruled out taking their concerns to the court with former President Donald Ramotar stating that the avenue remains on the table. However checks to the court show that the party is yet to approach the Supreme Court.
Former Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall has said that an Elections Petition could be eventually taken all the way to the Caribbean Court of Justice.