Because I was at the Gecom
Ashmin building observing the certification of the SOP ballot count (of March 2, 2020 onwards) and was an eyewitness to the shenanigans and attempted skullduggery to change the correct electoral outcome, and was at almost all press conferences, I was approached by a high government official in October, long before the start of the Commission of Inquiry into the attempted March 2020 electoral fraud, to give testimony. To be clear, I was at Ashmin building, headquarter for the certification of SOPs, and at press conferences in a private capacity. I spent my own personal resources for the exercise. I had no personal vested interest in the election and its outcome other than to see democracy protected and prevailed and the will of the voters respected. I took no political side and acted objectively and professionally at all times in my reporting for the media and in aiding the democratic process. At times, I was with my New York press pass prominently displayed around my neck and other times I did not show it in order to gain entrance at Ashmin. The media was not given full access to Ashmin at all times.
I was in the room when Owen Arthur offered (returned) his observer credential ID to the Foreign Minister Cummings. I was at Ashmin daily and saw several political figures, such as Jagdeo, Irfaan, Anil, Seeraj, Donald, Sanjay Datadin, Zulfi, among others, came and left on various days and times. A few of them sauntered up and down and looked askance without interacting with anyone. They were nervous on the verge of accepting they were defrauded. I saw Sase Singh, Nalini Singh, Dr Vindya, Azeena Baksh, Priya Manickchand, Rosalinda Rasool, Susan Rodrigues, Peter Ramsaroop, Gerry Gouveia, Kit Nascimento, Norman McLean, Ramesh Dookhoo, among several others (including diplomats) inside the certification room. Some of the above were there some of the time while I was there almost all the time except when there was a press conference. Some of these individuals gave testimony in front of the COI, and others, I presume, will follow.
I was non-committal in giving testimony in COI as I told the government official who approached me. Subsequently, several other prominent individuals, including lawyers and politicians and the crème de la crème of Guyanese society and the diaspora queried why I have not given testimony on the attempted fraud. So many placed high hopes on my testimony. So many friends reprimanded or berated or nudged me to give testimony on my eyewitness observations and what I knew of the planned perpetration of electoral fraud. Also, an associate of Gecom, not presently in Guyana
, who in my view was primarily responsible for political change in Guyana, the key figure for the change in government, whose name shall remain anonymous, also rang me two days ago saying he had not seen any testimony from me on the attempted fraud and was wondering why I am not appearing before the commission. He said he watched all the testimonies and believe I should also have on the record my observations while commending my role in exposing fraud and helping to bring about political change in my homeland.
I did not submit my name as a witness to the COI even though I was at Ashmin daily. I was not approached by the commission to give statements of what I saw. No other government official or Gecom affiliates implored me to give testimony. It would not be wise for me to give testimony as I cannot divulge confidential information revealed to me by inside sources on the fraud. My honest testimony could jeopardize their lives and or jobs, something I would never do as the individuals involved were responsible for the political change that Guyana experienced never mind that the role of some was not recognized. And what I observed was already captured in testimony, with critical exceptions, by several others including Sase Singh, Rosalinda Rasul, Josh Kanhai, Gouveia, Sase Gunraj, Anil Gidden, etc. What was not revealed were the political machinations behind the scene, and who, it was believed, were calling the shots, how the fraud was planned, and how it would be executed or implemented, and the planned swearing in of the President. Yes, there was a planned swearing in of a President that was derailed by timely intervention of a few of us (no political figure) — all civic minded, including a wealthy Gtown businessman.
I never witnessed such a transparent attempt to rig an election, to defraud a nation of a rightful government. Bruce Golding was right. I knew a lot about the attempted fraud, every step that was going to be taken by some Gecom officials on instructions or coercion from a certain political party, directives that would be issued, the planned swearing in, etc., well ahead before they were executed. I knew ahead of time the planned changes of SOP vote counts and how it would happen, the staged sicknesses of Gecom staff and their planned feints, the electricity blackout, the attempted manipulation of computer data, among so many other shenanigans, skullduggery, and malpractices. I also knew of the planned court cases that would be (and we’re) filed and the rulings (including 2-1) long before they were delivered. I was there during the isolation of Chair Claudette Singh and witnessed the presence of security blocking her entrance as well as when she was escorted out the building. Much was revealed to me about the entire affair. I prefer to maintain public silence on that episode to protect reputations and identities.
What surprised me was that none of the then opposition parties seemed aware, ahead of time, what would transpire at the Ashmin building and Gecom central office during the SOP certification — how fraud would be perpetrated, undertaken or implemented. Their intelligence could have been better on what was planned. I, myself, didn’t know how the fraud would be foisted until information was passed on to me from a reliable confidential source. He, a generous East Coast businessman, and I knew of planned fraudulent acts and how they would be implemented including during the recounting process. Through his network, he obtained information that was passed on to me. We processed and analyzed information and took deterrent actions to save democracy. In fact it was he who prevailed on me to expose the fraud. He would call at odd hours of the night waking me up with latest information on planned fraudulent acts. I spent countless hours on the IPhone and computer with very little rest.
He spent enormous personal resources to obtain information that was passed on to me in utmost confidence with a commitment never to reveal names and how the information was obtained. I have honored his request thus far. Lives could be at risk. I promised to protect the various sources, and I never revealed their names to anyone until three days ago (in Maldives) when I told my wife about a few individuals who really saved democracy in Guyana and change in administration. No political figure was among those who saved democracy. They were all civics like me. A deceased legal luminary also played a critical role in saving democracy and in the final outcome.
My wife, like me, has sworn secrecy to the information revealed to her, names of Gecom affiliates and the East Coast and Georgetown businessman and of those involved in combating fraud. To give public testimony at COI may require divulging secrecies and names of individuals whose employment, if not also lives, would be in danger. So I decided in the best interest of their lives and also what obtained on August 2, 2020, to remain quiet. The East Coast business person knows almost everything I know about the planned fraud. We shared information and collaborated in deterring the fraud our own way in confidence. He spent a lot of money to protect democracy and to bring about a change in administration. His name shall be anonymous. He said, and repeated three days ago, that he never told anyone what we did, not even his wife. Several other people, including small business folks, also played meaningful roles in combating fraud and their contributions must not be underestimated or belittled. Every little move helped in protecting democracy. Regrettably, some business people griped to me in recent trips to Guyana that they can’t get contracts or that they were repeatedly approached by bureaucrats, since the change in administration, to give bribes to get contracts. Some business people said they refused. Some are principled businessman and are known by Ministers and bureaucrats for their honesty and for not offering bribes to get “wuk”. And as a result of integrity and decency, the amount of government contracts some gets are substantially less than what they had under the coalition. They claim that some who were financiers of the coalition get more contracts now than before. Their cry is that a change in Administration did not benefit several business people financially. Some claim to be better off under the coalition. But people must accept that country comes first — at least for some patriots like me. I fought for country and commit. I have not benefited from my political and financial sacrifices for nation and for democracy. I never looked forward for benefits for more than fifty years of activism. The East Coast businessman also sacrificed business and wealth to protect democracy. Hardly any other business person did same. I will attribute his contribution as key for protecting the outcome of the vote of March 2, 2020 and of preventing the installation of a regime from fraud. He would be number two or three on the list who saved democracy. The Gecom associate is the number one person responsible for deterring the fraud (during SOP certification and the recount) and ultimately the change in administration. Others also played important roles — ballot box watchers, diplomats, polling agents, enumerators, counters, a few business people, etc. In spite of all that several people did, it was the USA government that sealed the deal.
None of the individuals involved in political change sought or ever received remuneration. Their contributions to protect democracy and for the democratic change in government was voluntary service to nation. I salute those who contributed to the struggle to respect the will of the voters. For those who testify in COI on the attempted fraud, I commend you for your courage.