Adverting to elections-related unrest in recent days, President David Granger yesterday said he won’t allow “political malefactors to hijack our democracy” and compromise public order.
Granger, who is performing the functions of a caretaker President, also said that he has no control over GECOM and urged the public to allow the Elections Commission “to execute its mandate to deliver credible elections to the Guyanese people”.
In his statement he acknowledged that one week after General and Regional Elections were held there had been no final declaration of results and that uncertainty and unease have arisen.
“I assure the nation that, at all times, I have acted in accordance with the Constitution and Laws of Guyana. After the elections on March 2nd, the nation awaited the declaration of the results by the Elections Commission after completing its work.
“GECOM is an independent constitutional agency over which I and the Executive have no control. I assure you, that as President, I cannot, did not and will not interfere in the work of GECOM”, Granger said.
Some critics have argued that key personnel at GECOM appear to be working in favour of declaring an unverified result for Region Four and hand the presidency back to APNU+AFC.
Five observer groups: the Commonwealth, the European Union (EU), the Organisation of American States, the Carter Center and CARICOM have called on the authorities to ensure full verification of the Region Four vote for a credible result. In addition to these missions, the United Nations Resident Coordinator here and the envoys of the US, the UK, the EU and Canada have also urged that the same be done along with the Chair of CARICOM and others. Granger made no mention of this yesterday.
Granger charged that the Opposition had created an “atmosphere of intimidation and fear at the office of the Returning Officer of District Number 4. This led to the interruption of GECOM’s work”.
Opposition party representatives have denied this. They have said they robustly objected to several attempts by GECOM personnel to thwart established procedures and particularly in relation to the declaration of the Region Four result without full verification.
Granger added that the Opposition then approached the Supreme Court seeking to prevent GECOM from making a declaration of the final results and that that matter is now before the Chief Justice who will hear the case today.
Lawyers for the PPP/C had moved to the court as they feared that that the suspect Region Four vote would be used as the basis for the swift swearing in of Granger over the numerous objections that that figure was not credible.
Granger further said that GECOM Chair, Justice Claudette Singh has said that she will await the outcome of that matter.
“The entire nation, indeed, must await the ruling of the Supreme Court”, Granger said.
He further contended that the Opposition is “disseminating a narrative that is no more than a falsification of reality. It is completely at variance with the official declarations of the Elections Commission for the ten electoral districts”. Granger made this statement despite the fact that the elections observers including the Guyana Bar Association and the private sector have been adamant that the Region Four count has not been completed.
Granger added: “Guyanese, we have all witnessed the lawlessness and violence that have been unleashed on innocent school children, citizens and police officers in several districts of our country. Our security forces have been working to quell disorder and to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“It is my sworn duty, as President, to uphold the Constitution and keep our citizens safe. I intend to do so. I will not allow political malefactors to hijack our democracy and compromise public order and human safety. Law and order will be maintained”.
He appealed to Guyanese to remain calm and not to engage in any activity which can lead to the heightening of tensions in society.
“I urge you to go about your business in a peaceful manner. Some damage has already been done to social relations in our communities. We must repair that damage”, Granger asserted.
He added: “Guyanese will continue to live with each other. We must not allow ourselves to be provoked into taking any action which will engender hate or disharmony.
“I am confident that there will be a peaceful and lawful resolution to this issue in a short period of time.
“I appeal to you to join me in allowing the judicial system to perform its functions.
“I appeal to you to allow the Elections Commission to execute its mandate to deliver credible elections to the Guyanese people”.