…ignores conclusion that recount should form basis of declaration
People’s Progressive Party (PPP) General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo is accusing caretaker President David Granger of being selective when it comes to his adoption of the high-level Caricom Observer Team’s report.
Both Jagdeo and Granger brokered an agreement with the Caricom Chair, Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley to have a high-level observer mission sent to Guyana to observe the national recount of the ballots of the March 2 General and Regional Elections.
The Team – comprising Sylvester King, Deputy Supervisor of Elections of St Vincent and the Grenadines; Cynthia Barrow-Giles, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Government at the University of the West Indies (UWI) and John Jarvis, Commissioner of the Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission – arrived in Guyana on May 1 and departed in early June after the recount concluded. They have submitted their report.
Granger and Jagdeo have both publicly committed to accepting the results of the recount as well as the report of the Caricom Team. However, that agreement has been one-sided since Granger and the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) are yet to uphold their end of the bargain.
Nevertheless, Granger appeared on a radio programme on Monday and indicated that he accepted the report of the Caricom Team, but, in fact, it seems he does only partially.
Cherry-picking certain sections of the report, Granger said that the high-level Team acknowledged the irregularities and recommended the investigation of the missing reconciliatory documents. Additionally, he pointed to the recommendations for future reforms where the Team urged a political audit and the restructuring of GECOM.
Glaringly, he failed to identify the meat of the report where it was concluded that the recount was transparent and credible, and should form the basis for the declaration of the results of the March02 elections.
However, Jagdeo did not let that slide. In his virtual press briefing, the former President sought to remind the incumbent of the meat of the report.
“The report that he continues to say that he agrees with made it very clear in its findings and conclusions that the recount data forms a credible basis for the declaration of the results and every international organisation supports this. He read one section of the Caricom report where they spoke about what needs to be done in the future and he ignores the rest,” Jagdeo related.
Below are a few excerpts from the Caricom Team’s report that Jagdeo identified and Granger completely ignored:
“We are, however, of the unshakable belief that the people of Guyana expressed their will at the ballot box, and as a result, the 3-person Caricom Observer Team concludes that the recount results are completely acceptable.
“Despite our concerns, nothing that we witnessed, warrants a challenge to the inescapable conclusion that the recount results are acceptable and should constitute the basis of the declaration of the results of the March 2, 2020 elections. Any aggrieved political party has been afforded the right to seek redress before the courts in the form of an election petition.”
“The public utterances of some GECOM Commissioners, political pundits, and politicians may have sounded an ominous tone for the 2020 elections, with the partisan driven and distorted narrative on migrant voting, phantom voting, and implied voter impersonation. The recounting of the votes was conducted with as much precision as possible and with absolutely no hint of bias shown on the part of the GECOM station workers. Their impartiality with respect to the actual vote recount was outstanding.”
After identifying the key elements of the report, Jagdeo questioned as to why Granger has not yet conceded to the People’s Progressive Party/Civic’s (PPP/C’s) Dr Irfaan Ali since he claims to respect the report. He went on to call Granger out on what he described as discrediting acts identifying that the incumbent seems bent on believing that all forces, other than those in his coalition, seemed to be working against him.
On Sunday, APNU/AFC Campaign Manager Joseph Harmon noted that Granger would not concede.
“Concede to what? Concede to whom? What is he to concede to? It appears to me and I would venture to say any right-thinking person, to be a most ridiculous and nonsensical proposition… for the persons who are calling for Granger to concede, that is not going to happen,” Harmon said on a radio programme.
The national recount had shown that the PPP/C won 233,336 votes while the APNU/AFC garnered 217,920. But in a report done by Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield, it was claimed that the APNU/AFC coalition garnered 171,825 votes while the PPP/C gained 166,343 votes.