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Pressure piles on PPPC to give up power; PPPC candidate calls for street protests

GLUM FACES: Seated from left to right are Ambassador Elisabeth Harper, President Donald Ramotar, Attorney General Anil Nandlall. Standing from left to right: Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, Pauline Sukhai and Robeson Benn.

Guyana’s business community and civil society organisations on Friday piled pressure on the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) to concede defeat in last Monday’s general elections, even as that party insisted that it would not do so until a recount proves it has lost.

A PPPC candidate, Dr Peter Ramsaroop has also called on party supporters to take to the streets to pressure the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to agree to a manual recount of the votes cast. “I support the Party call for a full recount and encourage other supporters of the PPP/C to come out in numbers and demand fairness.  It is time to take to the streets. We should not be bullied by any one,” he said in a statement.

The Guyana Bar Association of Women Lawyers,  Justice Institute of Guyana and Transparency Institute of Guyana Inc (TIGI) called on the PPPC “ to accept immediately the results of the elections.”

“Our four organisations accept the conclusion of the various official observers that these elections were free and fair and reflect the will of the people.  It is contrary to democracy to continue to delay the swearing in of Brigadier David Granger as President and the handover of executive government to the APNU+AFC coalition,” the civil society.

President Donald Ramotar reiterated at a news conference Friday morning that he would not acknowledge that he has lost the election fairly unless there is a recount. “I have no interest in being in government if the PPP loses the election. We are ready to concede .Once we lose fairly and squarely we have no issue with that,” said Ramotar. He hinted that the PPPC would not recognise an APNU+AFC-led administration if the votes are not counted again. “If GECOM doesn’t go ahead then what have a undemocratic government does not reflect the will of the people,” he said.

Ramotar refused to answer questions about the legitimacy of his administration in the face of a number of ministers vacating their offices and bidding staff farewell. “For this case I am making that is immaterial. I am talking about the integrity of the election. Tat issue could be the subject of another press conference,” he said.

The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), in a separate statement, did not name the PPPC but urged the loser of the polls to give up and challenge the results in court if necessary. “The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry is becoming deeply concerned by the apparent refusal of the one of the main political parties to accept the results of the 2015 elections,” said the business organisation.

The GCCI lamented the impact of the political stalemate following the casting of ballots although observers found no problems with the integrity of the elections. “All the observer missions, both local and international, have deemed the elections to be free and fair. GECOM, sometimes to the agitation of sections of the population, also went to great pains to ensure that all the results published were accurate and beyond question.

The uncertainty created by this state of affairs has caused business, productivity and the entire country to grind to a halt.  As a nation we cannot continue to suffer because of the machinations of parts of our political establishment,” said the GCCI.

The umbrella Private Sector Commission (PSC) appealed to the PPPC to acknowledge that it was defeated because the continued uncertaity was hurting the private sector. “We are therefore asking that the PPP/C accept the results and commence with transitioning to the new government for the benefit of all Guyanese who are yearning for normalcy to resume. The business community is at a standstill and this prolonged process is creating damage to the economy and the citizenry,” said the PSC in a statement.

The Guyana Bar Association of Women Lawyers,  Justice Institute of Guyana and TIGI praised Guyanese for demonstrating “great patience and restraint during this week. “We look forward to a new Parliament based on respect for the rule of law and respect for the inherent dignity of each and every citizen of Guyana. We call on all citizens to continue to go about their business peacefully, with dignity and with respect for one another.”