General Secretary of the Peoples Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) Bharrat Jagdeo, today lambasted caretaker President David Granger over comments he made last evening which suggested that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is “bound to accept” the concocted figures presented by the Chief Elections Officer for final declaration.
On Monday evening, Granger emerged from the shadows and appeared on a radio programme hosted by supporter Mark Benschop, where he made a number of controversial statements in relation to current political impasse.
Granger reasoned that “the Commission is bound to accept the report of the Chief Elections Officer…there is no other authority to prepare such a report. He is mandated to prepare such a report, the report will include a tabulation and also the validation in the form of observations.”
However, Jagdeo rubbished Granger’s reasoning, arguing that he is wrong and should have been better advised.
“There seems to be a major confusion in his (Granger’s) mind as to the report that should be produced in accordance with the Recount Order, which says that the Chief Elections Officer must produce a report tabulating the valid votes cast, that is the ten certificates for the ten regions in the recount, and submit this, along with summaries for the ten regions of the observation reports.
“And then the third stage is that the Commission will discuss this and decide the approach; what to instruct the CEO about what data to use. That is in contrast to the final report, the report that he has to produce after that instruction is given to him”.”
Jagdeo argued that a decision has already been made by the Commission regarding the use the recount data for the final declaration.
“I don’t know which report he is talking about, because Lowenfield already has instructions from the Commission to use the recount data,” the PPP/C General Secretary stated.
Jagdeo explained that the Lowenfield is a statutory officer who is employed by the Commission and must at all times carry out the directives given by the Commission.
Jagdeo cited the Constitution of Guyana which says that the Commission can intervene by taking the necessary action to ensure “impartiality, fairness and compliance”.
“What Lowenfield did was not impartial, it’s partial, he took a victory for the PPP/C and gave it to APNU…it is not fair, and the Commission has the authority to correct it,” Jagdeo argued.
“So when Mr Granger believes that the Commission is bound to accept the report of Lowenfield, he is simply wrong, and I hope he is advised in that regard.”
GECOM Chair, Justice Claudette Singh had directed Lowenfield to use the national elections recount figures certified by the Caricom Observer Team pursuant to Article 177 (2) (b) of the Constitution and Section 96 of the Representation of the People Act, Chapter 1:03 to compile his final report.
Lowenfield, however, did not comply with the Chair’s directive. He, instead, unilaterally invalidated over 115,000 votes and handed a ‘victory’ to the APNU/AFC. It is on this basis that the Coalition is hoping to remain in power.
Foreign Powers have called on GECOM to declare the results of the elections on the basis of the certified figures emanating from the National Recount.
The National Recount which was conducted under the scrutiny of a special Caribbean Community (Caricom) team shows the PPP/C in a landslide victory with some 15,416 more votes than its main political rival, the APNU/AFC coalition.
Meanwhile Jagdeo said that much of what Granger spoke about on Monday evening during the radio programme was “factually wrong and downright misleading”.
He said throughout the interview, Granger never acknowledged what the entire country knows; that is, Region Four Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo, was the primary source of fraud that led to the delay in the declaration of the results”.
There is evidence that Mingo inflated figures in favour of APNU/AFC Coalition by over 19,000 votes and reduced those of the PPP by over 3,000.
Turning his attention to the CEO discarding over 115,000 valid votes, Jagdeo said Granger “never for a single moment stopped to consider the 115,000 people who will lose…their vote simply because Lowenfield will not follow the instructions of the Commission.”
He posited that “it definitely does not come from the laws of Guyana to unilaterally invalidate 115,000 odd valid votes on the basis on allegations by APNU.”
“So I think the purpose of him coming out last night was to give support to Harmon’s vile rhetoric but in a more polished form…and to lend support to the embattled Lowenfield who has committed an act of fraud,” Jagdeo said.