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Three small parties shun APNU+AFC’s call for talks to end impasse over election results

Last Updated on Friday, 24 July 2020, 22:12 by Denis Chabrol

by Samuel Sukhnandan

(left to right) Lenox Shuman of the Liberty and Justice Party, Asha Kissoon of The New Movement and A New and United Guyana’s Ralph Ramkarran sign their memorandum of understanding on the joinder of their lists.

A number of small parties s rejecting calls being made by the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) to have dialogue with all parties with the aim of ending the current electoral impasse.

A New and United Guyana (ANUG), the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) and The New Movement (TNM) all say they are not prepared to hold talks with the coalition and instead have advised them to concede defeat and allow a declaration based on the CARICOM-supervised recounted votes.

ANUG said Friday that it notes the duplicity in words and actions by the APNU+AFC coalition, with the most recent statement where the party publicly signaled that it is ready to hold talks with other parties to resolve the deepening political crisis.

This move comes at a time when the party has already lost the first court battle where they are seeking to have a declaration based on the recount figures. Instead, the coalition vowed not to accept any election result based on its definition of votes that are not valid. The matter which was appealed is set for hearing on Saturday.

“It should be noted that the ongoing political situation they claim to want resolved, is in totality again, their own doing and making. It is nothing short of dishonesty and another display of the duplicitous nature of the leadership of APNU+AFC to say they are prepared to act to resolve a situation, a situation which they have created and is within their power to resolve. If they are indeed prepared to act responsibly, this can be done immediately with the simple act of conceding,” the party said in a statement.

The New Movement (TNM) also joins the list of political parties not in favour of dialogue. The party, through its Presidential candidate Dr. Asha Kissoon, said this decision is based on the fact that there is no resolve to this electoral process because the APNU+AFC continues to pursue multiple court cases and have publicly disregarded the recount and the ruling of Guyana’s apex court, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

“We are open to dialogue with the legally declared government and opposition, when the declaration is made,as we can only build Guyana together,” Dr. Kissoon said when contacted for a comment by News Talk Radio 103.1 FM/Demerara Waves Online.

The LJP has also rejected the idea saying it “firmly believes that any dialogue with any dictatorship only serves to legitimize that dictatorship and will not engage in any such actions at this juncture with the APNU.” The party said too in a statement on Friday that it will be open to dialogue with a democratically elected government.

“Should the APNU be genuinely interested in constructive dialogue, conceding that they have lost these elections would be viewed as a genuine first step. After the new democratically government is sworn into office, the Liberty and Justice will actively pursue dialogue with all legitimate and interested stakeholders in finding a progressive path forward for Guyana.”

ANUG, LJP and TNM have together clinched one seat in the elections.

Rhonda-Ann Lam of The Citizenship Initiative

The Citizenship Initiative (TCI), another small party that participated in the 2020 elections joins the list of other political parties that is not interested in dialogue, In its most recent statement, the TCI noted that despite a clear and concise ruling by Chief Justice Roxanne George, there is yet to be another court matter. TCI had said that all parties should abide by the rulings and not waste any more of the court’s time.

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has vowed not to cave in to demands by 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.

General Secretary of the PPP Bharrat 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.

The APNU+AFC coalition has said its call for dialogue is based primarily on national interest and believes it will help to maintain stability and peace.