…discussions will be initiated after winner of elections declared – PM Candidate Phillips
Caretaker President David Granger, in face of what appears to be an imminent electoral defeat, has reached out to the political Opposition with talk of inclusive governance; but the Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) has responded by telling the executive that any such talks would have to await the conclusion of the National Elections Recount exercise of the votes cast on March 2.
This is according to PPP/C Prime Ministerial Candidate Brigadier (rtd) Mark Phillips during a media engagement on the sidelines of the activity underway at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre (ACCC) on Wednesday.
The PPP/C PM Candidate told media operatives that Constitutional Reform would be high on the agenda of his party’s new administration, and that this would include a consensus structure of inclusive governance.
According to the former Guyana Defence Force (GDF) chieftain, it is only after the democratic process of electing a new Government is completed that the party would be engaged “in any discussion about constitutional reform and about inclusive governance.”
He was adamant that what must first be obtained is, “Respect the people who voted on March 2; respect the will of the people.”
Reminding that the PPP/C is committed to seeing the recount process through to the end, the PM Candidate drew reference to the party’s 2020 elections campaign manifesto and said, “We are the ones who started this whole discussion as part of this electoral process of constitutional reform and inclusive governance.”
Responding directly to caretaker President Granger, Brigadier (rtd) Phillips said it was heartening to hear the coalition A partnership for National Unity, Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) change their narrative on the need for inclusive governance, “and they are coming on board with us.”
Inclusive governance is in the PPP’s manifesto, he said, and both the Presidential Candidate Dr Irfaan Ali and General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo have reiterated that before and after the March 2nd elections.
He was adamant, “However, we said it before, and we say it again: respect the people who voted on March 2; respect the will of the people, and we are committed to seeing this recount process to the end and respecting the results of the process as declared by GECOM (Guyana Elections Commission).
According to Phillips, this would ensure “democracy prevails in Guyana.” As such, he stressed that it “is only through a democratic process we must determine who win or who lose; and after then, only after then, after respecting the democratic process, we must engage in any discussion about conditional reform and about inclusive governance.”
Asked to elaborate on what is being proposed by the PPP/C as it relates to inclusive governance, the PM Candidate told media operatives, “It is too early to talk about structure”, save to say “it will first begin with a discussion between all stakeholders.”
According to Phillips, “We are not going to talk about structure now, we prefer to allow the democratic process to determine who wins the election, and after then we will sit down with all the stakeholders and we will hammer out a structure. We start with inclusive governance by being inclusive as against being dictatorial.”
He told reporters, “Once we come through the democratic process and the will of the people is respected through the democratic process, whoever forms the Government — and we are confident that we are going to form the Government — as early as possible will invite all the stakeholders.”
Providing an update on the recount on day 22 of the exercise, the PPP/C Candidate, in briefing media operatives, said: “We, in the PPP/C, are confident that we won these elections.”
He told media operative that notwithstanding the “mischief” allegedly perpetrated by Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Ming, “We have in our possession the SOPS that were presented to us by GECOM. Utilising those SOPs has led us to the conclusion that we won this election.”
He surmised that, “Everybody is aware of Mingo’s mischief” and said, “The whole recount is an effort to verify this whole electoral process. We are having a recount, at the end of the recount, GECOM is expected to do a number of things, including declaring the results of the report.”
Directing attention to media reports, the PM Candidate noted that his party has managed to have published copies of its SOPs for Region Four declared by Mingo alongside the Statements of Recount that are generated during the recount exercise.
This, he said, illustrates pellucidly that the recounted ballots from the sealed boxes are confirming with the copies of the SOPs that were prepared by GECOM and given to parties, including the PPP/C.
As such, he was adamant, “The recount process is necessary to determine the will of the people, necessary to determine who will govern this country for the next five years.”