Former President David Granger urges supporters to remain peaceful
…APNU/AFC to seek redress through election petition
Former President David Granger, who still leads the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC), has urged his supporters to remain peaceful as the embattled party seeks redress through the court after losing power.
On Sunday, GECOM Chair, Retired Justice Claudette Singh declared the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) the winner of the General and Regional Elections. President Irfaan Ali was sworn in shortly after. In a statement on Sunday, Granger reiterated his compliance with the GECOM Chair’s declaration, adding that the coalition respects the lawful consequences of the ‘declaration’ as announced by the Chairman of the Elections Commission. “The APNU+AFC Coalition will challenge the declared results lawfully, peacefully and purposefully…the Coalition asks its members, supporters and friends – who have been patient throughout our campaign and a prolonged legal process in our Courts – to continue to conduct themselves in a lawful and peaceful manner,” Granger also said, going on to thank Guyanese who participated in the elections as well as his coalition partners.
Meanwhile, People’s National Congress (PNC) Chairwoman, Volda Lawrence also issued a statement in which she said that her party will continue its fight against the declaration of the results in the court, through an election petition.
“I know that you are disappointed and sad. We all are. But our Party has always been a resilient party that has withstood the test of time for more than sixty years….In 1992 we were in this position but, though long, we maintained the struggle and again overcame in 2015.”
The declaration of Dr Ali as President and the PPP as the new Government, brought five months of repeated attempts by APNU/AFC and its surrogates to rig the elections in their favour to an end.
Back in March, Mingo had made two controversial declarations of the Region Four results, Guyana’s largest voting district. Those results were widely criticised by stakeholders as well as the international community as lacking transparency and credibility. This led to the conduct of a National Recount, during which it was unearthed that the RO had heavily inflated the numbers to give Granger’s coalition a landslide victory.
According to the recount results, the PPP/C won the elections with 233,336 votes while the APNU/AFC obtained 217,920 votes – a difference of some 15,416 votes. However, APNU/AFC used a number of its supporters to file court cases seeking to overturn the recount results. In addition, it has staged protests with supporters shouting slogans like “valid votes only.” In fact, a mini protest was held two streets away from GECOM, while the Chair made her declaration on Sunday.
On the heels of international threats of serious consequences and sanctions if Guyana does not have a legitimate Government, the United States had announced visa restrictions last month for individuals responsible for, or complicit in, the undermining of democracy of Guyana. Those persons’ immediate family members are also affected. Further visa restrictions were later announced, as APNU/AFC persisted in holding on to power.
On Thursday, the Court of Appeal dismissed the final challenge brought by APNU/AFC supporter Misegna Jones in a unanimous decision and upheld Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George’s recent ruling that the National Recount exercise is valid, and that the decision taken by GECOM to use the recount figures as the basis for a final declaration of the March 2 polls must be adhered to. She also ruled that APNU/AFC must address their grievances in an election petition.
In the ruling handed down by Appellate Justices Dawn Gregory and Rishi Persaud, along with High Court Justice Priya Sewnarine-Beharry, it was asserted that the proceedings filed by Jones are an abuse of the court system, since many of the issues raised were previously dealt with in other litigations filed during the protracted electoral process.