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OAS position on recount results smacks of interference but CARICOM’s assessment will be “persuasive” – Harmon

Last Updated on Friday, 5 June 2020, 16:28 by Denis Chabrol

General Secretary of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), Joseph Harmon on Friday said the Organisation of American States’ (OAS) position that Guyana’s national election recount would be credible to declare a winner  smacked of interference in the country’s internal affairs.

Harmon suggested that the OAS usurped the role of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

“We recognise the Elections Commission as being the competent authority. We recognise the CARICOM (Caribbean Community) mission that is there as the credible interlocutors in the affairs of Guyana and, therefore, we rely on those processes. Other persons, who are sitting on the outskirts, observing things and making declarations, even while the process is still going on…and so to preempt a ruling of the Chairman of the Elections Commission is, in my view, stepping beyond just international relations and is  stepping into the boundary, in my view, of interference,” he said.

The Head of the OAS Office in Guyana and a local staff member have been observing the recount each day since it commenced on May 6, 2020.

Despite repeated allegations that the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) engineered electoral fraud by substitute voting in the names of dead people and people overseas as well as disenfranchisement of others by not stamping ballots, Harmon stayed clear of saying whether his coalition wants the elections annulled.

“We want the Chairman of the Elections Commission to make an honest declaration of what is before her. We are not going to say what we want and what we don’t want. What will emerge from the evidence that came from the recount must be the factors which the Chairman must take into consideration in making her determination,” Harmon said.

Caricom Scrutineers

The APNU General Secretary for the second time in as many days publicly stated that the three-member CARICOM team of scrutineers’ position would be critical in determining the credibility of the general elections. “The CARICOM team- I would say their report will be persuasive because they have been brought here to oversee and to scrutinise the process and I suspect they, having been there for the entire period; they, like us, would have seen on a daily basis the genie that is emerging out of these boxes when they are opened,” he said

Harmon hoped that CARICOM would  make “an honest assessment” of what they say that deals with the credibility of the electoral proces.

Speaking from a prepared statement to a select group of pro-coalition media, Harmon said on Thursday that “we want to ensure that the validity of every vote that was cast on the 2nd of March , 2020 can stand up to a test and that test is that it was validly cast by persons who were entitled to vote on that day. This is what the CARICOM mission will have to help us to determine – whether, in fact, valid votes were cast and whether, in fact, what they are seeing is a true reflection of the will of the Guyanese people.”

APNU+AFC wants the seven-member GECOM to address a series of concerns contained in more than 15 letters.

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