Last Updated on Thursday, 23 July 2020, 11:10 by Denis Chabrol
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) on Thursday vowed not to cave in to demands by A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) and said the only way forward is for the coalition to abide by the declaration of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) based on the national vote recount.
PPP General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo told News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM / Demerara Waves Online News that there are no efforts by mediators to bring the two sides to the table.
His comments came one day after the David Granger-led coalition said it was willing to open talks with political parties and other stakeholders to peacefully resolve the electoral crisis, even as it insisted that it would not accept the results based on the recount.
Mr. Jagdeo said, in keeping with a 2020 elections campaign promise, his party would only talk about a new governance model after the Elections Commission declares the winner. He said the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR)-led coalition must learn to abide by the rules-based electoral system.
He cautioned APNU+AFC against being viewed as “the party that can bully people will always be the winner.”
The former Guyanese leader refused to disclose what would be the PPP’s next move if the coalition continues to “hang” on to power even after GECOM declares the results based on the recount.
Preferring to only say “that’s an entirely different matter”, the PPP General Secretary declined to say whether his party would call for international help to remove the coalition. “Coups have a way of bringing down the force of the international community,” he said.
Jagdeo opted to refer to his prepared statement that States that says “the consequences for Granger and the APNU+AFC at that time will be as alluded to by Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro: “Democracy or Abyss?”.
The PPP General Secretary if the international community was prepared to condemn and levy sanctions against people who are trying to undermine democracy, even before the declaration, “just imagine the consequences the riggers will face if they refuse to leave office after the declaration – essentially staging a coup d’etat.
He warned that “such a move will be met by fierce resistance by the PPP and other forces fighting for democracy.”
Calling APNU+AFC’s position a “clear defiance of the international community, the Chief Justice, the Caribbean Court of Justice and GECOM that the recount figures must be used to declare the final results, Mr. Jagdeo he stressed that talking before a declaration would be a breach of its campaign pact.
“Talking to political parties will not be consistent with what we said in our manifesto. We have to have a legitimate government sworn in and that can only happen if the figures from the recount are used to generate the declaration,” he said.
Mr. Jagdeo said APNU could not unilaterally decide what figures should be used as based on them the coalition “has lost the election.”
The Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield has thrice presented reports with different numbers that would allow APNU+AFC to be declared the winner.
The national vote recount numbers mirror closely the PPP’s Statements of Poll that show that party has won the elections by 15,000 votes.
APNU+AFC has refused to disclose its Statements of Poll, but has charged that the national vote recount has thrown up massive fraud and other irregularities that favour the PPP.
PNCR/APNU+AFC member Aubrey Norton has said the recount now has to be treated like an elections petition which has showed thousands of invalid votes including those in more than 40 ballot boxes that do not have supporting documents.
Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Karen Cummings this week told the Permanent Council of the Organisation of American States that the Caribbean Community-scrutinised recount only focused on 18 percent of the 2,339 ballot boxes and that could not be considered a representative sample.
Attorney General Basil Williams told the Permanent Council that the issue could only be settled by the court.