APNU/AFC driving fear, has no interest in country’s development – Ali

President Dr Irfaan Ali has said the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Opposition is interested only in driving fear and not the country’s development.
This is in light of remarks made by Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon, following Monday’s High Court ruling by Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George, who dismissed the Coalition’s lone election petition that challenged the legitimacy of results of last year’s tumultuous General and Region Elections.

President Irfaan Ali

Harmon has said, “We must continue to fight. We will continue to work to remove this installed PPP (People’s Progressive Party) regime… Today is a dark and ominous day for democracy in Guyana. The ruling of the Court must strike fear in the heart of all democracy-loving people in Guyana, in the Caribbean and around the world. We have continuously called on our people to keep the peace, to remain calm, and to uphold the law. Today, however, we have witnessed once again the judicial system failing our people.”
Excerpt of this speech by Harmon was played by President Ali during a news conference on Wednesday after he was asked about high-level talks with the Opposition going forward.
“Does that give you any indication that they (the Opposition) have any interest in working for the development of this country? Now attacking the court, driving fear in people. I think that answers the question,” the President responded.

Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon

Further pressed on the issue, the Head of State went onto clearly outline his Government’s position on Harmon, who has refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Ali-led administration.
“Our position in relation to Harmon is very clear… Instead of doing what is right, he has now gone totally outraged not only at the Executive now, but at the Judiciary also,” the President posited as he emphasised the importance of separation of powers.
In fact, during his opening remarks at Wednesday’s press briefing, the independence of the Judiciary was highlighted.
“The decision of the court is a testimony both to the independence of our Judiciary and the enduring strength of our democracy, and especially in the manner and efficiency in which the court conducted these hearings.”
He added, “So let me take this opportunity to recommit my administration to continuing to uphold and defend the separation of powers between the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary – which is so vital to the functioning of our democracy.”
In dismissing the Coalition’s election petition to vitiate the March 2, 2020 elections, Justice George ruled that nothing in the petition supports the claims of the petitioners as those relate to irregularities during the elections. Further, she found that there were no breaches or violations by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) that would make the election a sham or travesty.
President Ali welcomed the decision, noting that the Opposition-sponsored petition spuriously sought to challenge the constitutional and legal results of the General and Regional Elections held on the 2nd of March last year – which elected the People’s Progressive Party to Government, and which was recognised without exception internationally.
“Even more importantly, the decision arrived at by the court is further evidence of the fact that, as a people and a country, whatever our party-political differences may be, these differences are settled peacefully and within the rule of law, under which we are all constitutionally governed,” he posited.
The Head of State has said he looks forward to the courts’ continuing to recognise the efficacy of the last elections in addressing any future challenges on this matter.
Harmon has already indicated that the APNU+AFC would appeal the High Court decision. Already, the Coalition is appealing another election petition that was thrown out by the Chief Justice for late service. The hearing in that matter will commence on June 14 at the Court of Appeal.
The Ali-led PPP/C was sworn into office on August 2, 2020 following five months of political and electoral deadlock. Following blatant attempts to rig the elections and amidst a slew of litigation, a national recount had found that the PPP/C emerged victorious with over 15,000 more votes than the Coalition.
The international community had largely flagged the then incumbent APNU+AFC regime for attempting to hold onto office. In fact, the United States had gone ahead and imposed visa restrictions against several individuals “responsible for or complicit in undermining democracy in Guyana.”
According to President Ali during Wednesday’s press conference, his Government has been working over the past nine months to reverse the damage done to Guyana’s imagine, both locally and internationally.
“We took office on the verge of a threatened dictatorship, chaotic mismanagement, and near economic collapse. We have been very busy repairing the damage and restoring our country to economic sanity and progress. We have continued with the APNU+AFC Opposition that refuses to accept the results of a democratic election, refuses to recognise the elected Government, and refuses to sit down and work with that Government for the progress of our country,” the Head of State has contended. (G8)