Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 5th 2015 Contents A26
letters on sunday
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt July 5, 2015
Guyana s May 11 election ended
in controversy on which political
force actually won resulting in a peti-
tion over the request to the election
commission (Gecom) for a recount.
Gecom s refusal of a vote recount
has led to suspicion of something
amiss about the result.
In virtually every established
democracy, including T&T, a close
electoral outcome resulted (some-
times automatically) in a recount.
Where a recount was not automat-
ically triggered, candidates or parties
asked for one. And when a recount
was refused by officials, the court
intervened mandating recounts.
In virtually no court case in the
US, UK and Canada did a judge not
order a recount. It could not be
understood why Guyana based rep-
resentatives of the US, UK and Cana-
da objected to recounts when the
laws allowed for them in Guyana as
well as in their own countries.
Many analysts felt the represen-
tatives wanted a certain result and
did not care much for democracy or
the rule of law---a certain outcome
(ejection of the PPP from office)
trumped everything else.
Recounts were/are held in virtu-
ally every close election in Ameri-
ca---the most famous being the 2000
Florida presidential recount (that
was not carried to completion and
that handed George Bush a victory,
some six weeks later, perhaps unjust-
ly). There was a recount in the New
York Democratic Mayoral primary
in September 2013 in which Bill
DeBlasio (current mayor) narrowly
edged out African American Bill
Thompson. A recount was held in
the Minnesota Senate race in 2008
and the winner not known some
three months after the election. The
election for governor of Washington
State on November 2, 2004, ended
in court and took weeks to be
In the November 2014 Congres-
sional election, one California district
was not declared until a month later
because the Republican challenger
filed a petition against the incumbent
Indian American Democrat (Ami
Bera) who won by a few hundred
votes. In Canada s 41st general elec-
tion held on May 2, 2011, there were
bitter disputes over the results in
some districts after several candidates
won their seats with razor thin mar-
gins. Judicial recounts were ordered
in numerous seats in Canada s elec-
tion after election.
Also, in the UK, recounts took
place when the initial vote tally dur-
ing an election was close. Court cases
(election petitions) resulted from
elections in UK, US and Canada to
determine the true winners.
Recounts occurred in Trinidad in
virtually every election, where the
margin of victory in a seat is less
than two per cent. The 2013 local
elections had several recounts. The
same held true in every Caricom
country in several elections---ballots
were recounted in every closely con-
tested seat to ascertain the winner,
most recently in Antigua, St Kitts,
Dominica, Barbados, Jamaica, etc.
Guyana s law allows for a recount
before the declaration of the results.
One was requested but turned down
even when there were allegations of
fraud, multiple voting, and fake
statements of poll results.
It is also noted that Guyana had
a relatively high level of spoilt votes.
This should have triggered an auto-
matic recount especially that one
party lost a seat by only one vote.
Why Gecom did not do a recount
in that seat is inexplicable. The
announced result in Guyana was a
political gambit and a recount was
essential to certify the winner. As
argued by lawyers in US court cases,
a proper count is the best possible
count to clear doubt about an elec-
In developing countries like
Guyana, in order to avoid a situation
where there has been so much bick-
ering over election results going back
to the 1950s, and which exploded
into ethnic violence, a recount should
have been mandatory given the
closeness of the result.
Dr Vishnu Bisram
Electoral recount in Guyana necessary
This toddler holds up a sign during the Jouvay Ayiti's protest against the Dominican Republic's decision to deport
thousands of undocumented Haitian migrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent, outside the country's embassy at
Queen's Park West, Port-of-Spain last Friday. Jouvay Ayiti is a special project involving students of the Department of
Creative and Festival Arts at UWI, St Augustine. PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
FIGHT FOR RIGHTS
My son wrote the SEA exam
on May 7, and like many of the
other children who also wrote
the exam he studied hard, he
prepared and he attended extra
lessons---all the things that we
are told should be done to ensure
our children do well.
I am a single parent with two
sons. I made the sacrifice to send
my sons to a private primary
school, all in an attempt to give
my boys a better chance. I paid
for extra lessons, I purchased
the suggested SEA practice
papers from the bookstores,
which he and I would sit and
do together on evenings after
school and on weekends.
I worked with my child, and
I saw him work hard. So you
can imagine my shock and dis-
appointment when I saw my
son s school placement, espe-
cially given the marks that he
obtained. Let s not even mention
his disappointment in himself.
He has been inconsolable since
the results were released. He
feels like a failure; he is depressed
and embarrassed. And he keeps
asking me how, why?
Minister Gopeesingh, how do
you suggest I answer him? How,
with a composite score of 212
out of a possible 245 points could
he have been placed at Arima
North Secondary, which was not
even a school of his choice? How
could children with composite
scores less than my son s be
placed at colleges and other
schools ranked higher than
Arima North? How? Why?
What is the criteria being used
for placement of children?
Because from where I sit, it
appears to have very little to do
with marks obtained. Please, can
you explain these things to me
so that I can explain them to my
I fully intend to file an official
complaint with your ministry.
Do I expect that I will be given
any justice? Well, I m not affil-
iated to any political party. I m
not related to any government
ministers or people in high
office. I don t have any money.
I m just a regular citizen, trying
to live an honest life, working
hard to achieve my goals and
trying to set a good example for
my sons to follow. So I suppose,
given these facts, the answer to
my question is NO.
with SEA exam results
The waiting is over. The SEA re-
sults have been released; we can now
all exhale simultaneously.
Nearly everyone has someone who
wrote the exam---son, daughter, niece,
nephew or acquaintance.
This exam is probably the most im-
portant one in a person's life. It deter-
mines your future and how you will be
classified for the rest of your life.
Some people are proud of the fact
that they were not successful at SEA
initially but recovered at the second
attempt. Is this worthy of a round of
applause? Examinations are tailored
to be passed at a specific age and in a
specific time period. It is not ideal for
a 15-year-old to be attempting SEA.
Let us analyse this year's results.
The top student was female. Sur-
prised? She attended a religious
based mixed primary school. A defi-
nite case of females first, again. Why
are the males experiencing hiccups?
Do females mature faster?
Why are females more focused
than their male counterparts? We
note again the importance of religion
in education. The religious based insti-
tutions continue to rule the roost.
Location seems to play an impor-
tant part also. The top three SEA per-
formers all come from the south, San
Parents, before you demand that
your children attain certain prestige
schools, ask yourself what school did
you attend, are you leading by exam-
ple? The "extra lessons" teachers,
what is the most important thing to
you? Money? School work should be
covered in the normally allocated
time. What is being done from 8am to
2pm? Are we grooming workers for
the various agencies that only work
T&T is really a land of glorious op-
Indigenous Trinis are placing sec-
ond to others with foreign connec-
tions. We are being beaten at our own
game in our backyard. Why is that?
How are they doing it?
Come on people we need to work
together for improved results. The
SEA exam is a necessary evil. It must
stay. What will you replace it with? A
change of name again? How are stu-
dents going to be graded? Life is
about constant competition, the ear-
lier we realise that, the better.
Congratulations to all students
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