President David Granger has denied, in the American daily newspaper The Washington Post, the only proven instances of vote rigging in Guyana’s 2020 electoral process, those of the fraudulent Region Four tabulations controlled by Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo.
“I don’t see any corruption, any fraud,” the President told the Post in a recent interview. “If there’s any fraud, it went into the boxes when the ballots were cast March 2.”
The President’s comments are detailed in an article titled ‘Why Guyana’s political stalemate matters’ by the post’s columnist on foreign affairs, Ishaan Tharoor.
The President has repeatedly refused to admit or even acknowledge the rigging which led to the Region Four declarations of March 5 and 13. He has instead, opted to say that the reason there had to be a national recount, is that the “irregularities” claimed by the coalition were discovered.
The coalition’s claims of procedural irregularities and voter impersonation were only made after the recount began, and are recorded in the recount observation reports. That these claims found their genesis only after the recount began is well documented by local media.
The national recount was necessary because of two attempts by Mingo to rig the elections in favour of the APNU+AFC coalition. The first attempt led to a March 5 declaration which was found by the Court to be unlawful. As a result, it was vitiated by Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire.
The second attempt was through a tabulation marred by a lack of transparency and accusations of electoral fraud from five political parties, leading to a declaration on March 13. Its results were slightly numerically different from the first, but both were skewered to favour the coalition, though the national recount has found the PPP/C to have won the elections by 15,416 votes. The recount results have been certified as credible by CARICOM, and its conclusions are backed by all of the international observers.
This newspaper’s investigations had uncovered that the scheme used by Mingo was one which added bogus votes to APNU+AFC and subtracted valid votes from PPP/C, over a series of Region Four ballot boxes. This was confirmed repeatedly as the recount progressed.
Not only did the recount correct Mingo’s figures, but it revealed that the Returning Officer, in his declarations, had conjured about 15,000 votes on top of the actual total of 460,352 valid votes cast in the general election.
Much to the dismay of the international community, the coalition has taken an offensive stance against statements made by foreign diplomats, heads of government or activists which appear critical of APNU+AFC and its positions. In response to the constant protraction of the elections process, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on the trail of accusations that Guyana could become a rogue state, has ordered officials in his department to hold those who undermine Guyana’s democracy accountable, a move largely seen as indicative of the genesis of individual sanctions. Pompeo, the Organisation of American States (OAS) and CARICOM have all denounced what they term as “gamesmanship” which CARICOM’s outgoing Chair and Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley said leaves much to be desired.
Tharoor said that Granger told Today’s WorldView, a newsletter formed by the Post, that “Guyana is not a rogue state” and denied the claims, of gamesmanship, simply stating “I’m not a gamesman.”