Harmon contradicts Granger, continues to peddle wild claims about “invalid votes”
Within the space of hours, President David Granger and his front-man, Joseph Harmon, have both given the public conflicting perspectives regarding their acceptance of the results of the March 2 General and Regional Elections, leaving citizens baffled as to what exactly is the APNU/AFC coalition’s position on the matter.
Based on past experiences, some persons have expressed the need to be very cautious about any pronouncement coming from the President or his top aides.
On the sidelines of an event on Thursday, Granger told the media that he is obliged to accept the declaration made by the Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) without any pre-conditions.
“With respect, my statement on compliance with the declaration is not conditional. I didn’t say if the rain is falling or the sun is shining, you know; if it comes by day or by night. I am obliged to observe the declaration of the Chairman of the Elections Commission…I will abide by the declaration…I will abide by the rulings of the court,” Granger told reporters.
However, mere hours after, in an immediate reaction to the COA’s decision in which it upheld the ruling by Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George that the recount process was valid and as such the results must be used to make a final declaration, Harmon again repeated the coalition’s baseless claims about votes being “invalid”.
The APNU/AFC’s strongman declared: “Fraudulent votes cannot be the basis for a final declaration to be made. This is our firm position.”
In signalling his displeasure with the COA’s ruling, he added: “The Guyanese people have to certainly examine, in a more meticulous way, the manner in which their justice system functions. They will look at it much more seriously because they’re seeing the flaws that are coming out in these judgements.”
This is in direct contrast to what the President had said earlier.
Without any shred of evidence, the coalition has claimed that the recount results are not credible, despite the fact that the recount process was supervised by a Caricom team.
It must be noted too that international and local observers and all the other parties (except APNU/AFC) which contested the polls, have accepted the results of the recount as credible and called for the final declaration to be made on this basis only.
During the National Recount process, after it was confirmed that the coalition was defeated at the polls, it started a relentless effort to discredit the electoral process in making wild and unsubstantiated claims of voter impersonation.
In spite of all of these claims being debunked, Harmon and other leading officials, who are hell-bent on hanging on to power, continue to peddle such falsehoods.
The CCJ in its ruling had contended that all the votes tabulated during the recount process are deemed valid; except and until an elections court decides otherwise.
It had stated clearly that questions in relation to the validity of votes must be addressed by Guyana’s High Court via an elections petition, after the results of the elections would have been declared.
The Court of Appeal, in a unanimous decision, dismissed the challenge brought by APNU/AFC supporter Misegna Jones, 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.
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.
Meanwhile, PPP/C Prime Ministerial Candidate, Brigadier Mark Phillips on Thursday lambasted Harmon for repeating his baseless claims of invalid votes, saying that he, Harmon, is bent on pushing that line in an effort to illegally hang on to political power.
Phillips posited that with a few of the hardcore APNU elements giving conflicting positions regarding the acceptance of the results, “there is likely to be some implosion within APNU…but we have to keep our eyes on Mr Granger and hope that he sticks to his word.”