January 4, 1998
Mr. David de Groot (SN 31/12/97) argues that the PNC should publicise its own numbers to back the party's claim that it won the 1997 elections. Mr. de Groot seems to believe that the mere publication of the PNC figures would magically satisfy and convince him and thousands of his ilk of the validity of the PNC's position. Apparently, Mr. de Groot and the letter writing flock at Freedom House would somehow not rush to discredit the PNC numbers as false, concocted, fabricated and other such synonyms. This numbers game would take us nowhere.
In condemning these elections as "flawdulent", the PNC is basing its claim on the glaring systemic and systematic "errors" in the counting process. The party has shown and will continue to show that these shortcomings and inexplicables cannot simply be explained away by saying "no election is 100% perfect." There is a deeper mystery afoot.
It would be useful for all Guyanese to read and reflect on the Commonwealth Report on these elections, which supports most of the PNC positions. In typical diplospeak, what the report is really saying is that the counting process was at a minimum very fishy and at most rigged.
What the PNC has always maintained (and now supported by independent observers) is that the process was characterised by (1) a high frequency of numerical errors (all strangely to the benefit of the PPP), (2) wilful manipulation of the tallying process (note the mysterious disappearance of the Region 4 Statements of Poll), and (3) an unreliable Commission Chairman publicly agreeing to clean up the process on one hand and arbitarily doing his own thing on the other.
In conclusion what Guyanese need to ask themselves are these questions:
(1) Why the haste to swear in Mrs. Jagan before full verification?
(2) Why the haste to publish the final results in the midst of attempts to restore confidence in the counting process?
(3) Why the haste to officially conclude the elections before the international audit?
Sherwood Lowe, Lecturer
University of Guyana