first_imgGuyana is again trapped in a full-blown dictatorship. It is not the first time. Between 1964 and 1992, the People’s National Congress (PNC), first, with Forbes Burnham and, second, with Desmond Hoyte, ruled Guyana with a brutal dictatorship. Now again, in 2019, Guyana has become a dictatorship. The new dictator is David Granger, who has not been shy in singing the praises of his hero, the first dictator, Forbes Burnham. The PNC is now called APNU/AFC. Forbes Burnham and Hoyte sustained their dictatorships through rigged elections and the brutal use of Police and soldiers.Now, Granger’s dictatorship has been birthed because he stubbornly refuses to hold elections which have been due since March 21. His hope is he could buy enough time to implement a rigging machinery. As the majority of Guyanese people struggle to ensure Guyana does not sink deeply into a new era of dictatorship, Granger and his form of the PNC are also trying to use riot Police and the armed forces to intimidate and harass people. He uses the Police to keep peaceful protesters away from him. He hides from the people and he threatens them they will “pay” for opposing him. But the people have vouched they will not be intimidated, that they will hound him until he sets a date for elections. He is petrified of elections and of his people.In the midst of the epic struggle of the Guyanese people to stop dictatorship, Caricom is disgracing itself and compromising its moral authority. Caricom has never been shy in pronouncing against dictatorship anywhere in the world, except for Guyana. Caricom knows full well Guyana is presently governed by a dictatorial cabal. It is not only the PPP and the majority of Guyanese saying so, virtually, all legitimate civil society organisations in Guyana have sternly stated the facts, as clear as could be. Business organisations such as the Guyana Private Sector Commission, the Guyana Chambers of Commerce, AmCham have called upon the Government to set the elections date for the earliest possible elections. Religious bodies have done the same.Countries like America, Great Britain, the European Union and the Commonwealth Secretariat have condemned David Granger and APNU/AFC for governing outside of the Constitution. Guyana has become a pariah state. But throughout all of this, Caricom has acted as if it is blind, deaf and dumb. Caricom’s moral authority to speak out against dictatorship has been permanently destroyed. How can Caricom justify its silence on Guyana?There is something worrisome to Caricom’s silence on Guyana. In 1997, soon after the PPP won a resounding electoral victory under President Janet Jagan, the PNC under Desmond Hoyte embarked on violent protest, “slo fyah, mo fyah”. The goal was the overthrow of a legitimate Government elected through free and fair elections. Caricom immediately intervened, but not to have the PNC do the right thing and accept the will of the people, instead, to negotiate the PPP shorten its term in office.Yet, for twenty eight years before 1992, the PNC ruled with an iron fist, rigged every elections between 1968 and 1992, and Caricom never once had anything to say. In fact, several Caricom countries aided and abetted the PNC dictatorship before 1992. Now fast-forward to the present time, the PNC, under a different name, APNU/AFC, has again established a dictatorship by refusing to adhere to the Constitution and defying the Judiciary, including the Caribbean Court of Appeal. Caricom ought to be ashamed that it is so deafeningly silent as its own court, the CCJ, is totally dishonoured and disrespected by a member-country. There is a strange double-standard for Caricom when it comes to Guyana.On Monday afternoon, hundreds of Guyanese gathered in front of Caricom in a candlelight vigil in protest of David Granger illegally carrying on as the President of Guyana. Caricom’s representative was cajoling with David Granger and others at the Convention Center, totally ignoring the Guyanese people demanding their rights to a free and fair election and to live in a democracy. They were very visible with their candles, peacefully crying out for freedom and democracy. But Caricom did not see or hear them, even though they were within an arm-length away from Caricom’s headquarters.Caricom chose not to see David Granger getting riot Police to confront peaceful protesters, deemed by Granger to be hooligans. The right to protest is not only a constitutional guarantee in Guyana, it is one of the founding principles of Caricom. Hopefully, Caricom will find its voice soon enough, will find its moral grounding to demand, like the Americans, the British, the EU and the Commonwealth Secretariat, that David Granger and APNU/AFC act in accordance with the Constitution.last_img