Last Updated on Sunday, 28 June 2020, 13:22 by Denis Chabrol
General Secretary of A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU), Joseph Harmon on Sunday vowed that President David Granger would not concede defeat as the Chief Elections Officer of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Keith Lowenfield has already submitted his report for consideration by the seven-member body.
“So to those persons who are calling for Mr. Granger to concede, that is not going to happen,” said Harmon on an interviewed aired on several local and Caribbean stations.
He pointed out that it was just a matter of time before Granger is sworn in for a second straight term because Lowenfield’s report shows that APNU+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) got 32 seats with 171,825 votes. The People’s Progressive Party (PPP), with 166,343 votes, was given 31 seats and the three small-The New Movement, A New and United Guyana, and Liberty and Justice Party- a total of 3,348 votes.
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) judges last week, at their case management conference, declined to order the Chief Elections Officer to withdraw his report but said the time would come for lawyers to address the legality of doing so. Public hearings are scheduled for all day Wednesday on an appeal by the PPP’s Bharrat Jagdeo and Irfaan Ali against the Guyana Court of Appeal ruling that the constitutional reference of “more votes” in Article 177 actually means “more valid votes cast” and must be considered with the national vote recount order that required reconciliation of votes with voters’ lists, counterfoils, stubs and other material to deliver a credible result.
The Trinidad-headquartered court last week Tuesday issued an order blocking GECOM from taking any action, including declaring results, until the hearing and determination of the case.
Reacting to persistent calls by the Caribbean Community, Organisation of American States, the Commonwealth, United States, Britain, Canada, European Union, Norway and others for APNU+AFC to use the recount data, Harmon said the presentation of the report by the Chief Elections Officer has now made that virtually impossible.
“It really comes from a narrative which has been overtaken by time and, in view of a report submitted by the Chief Elections Officer to the Commission showing that Mr. Granger’s coalition, APNU+AFC, with a majority of the valid votes cast after the recount so there you have it, a report in the Elections Commission showing all the valid votes and still people are calling for Mr. Granger to concede. Concede to what? Concede to who? What is he to concede to?,” said Harmon.
Prior to Tuesday’s case management conference, the PPP had written to the GECOM Chairman, Retired Justice Claudette Singh asking that she reject Lowenfield’s report.
He labelled calls for Granger to concede “a most ridiculous and nonsensical proposition” as he did not expect the CCJ to find that it could legally hear the case. Further, Harmon argued that even if the CCJ agrees to hear the case, it could not be expected to rule that invalid votes be used to declare the election results.
The Caribbean Community-scrutinised recount said the 460,352 votes that were recounted reflected the will of Guyanese but Lowenfield in his report subtracted 115,844 votes, saying that was in keeping with guidance fr0m the Guyana Court of Appeal that his report must include “valid and credible” results. The PPP has said Lowenfield has no legal right to disenfranchise voters and aggrieved parties must take their concerns to an election court after results are declared.
APNU+AFC and Lowenfield have said the elections have been tainted by voter impersonation of dead people and overseas-based Guyanese as well as other irregularities and anomalies.