I have long expressed my unequivocal backing of the Alliance For Change (AFC) to both break the PPP-PNC ethnic-based stranglehold on the Guyanese electorate and to form a new government that will institute needed reforms, so let me say from the outset that what I’m about to write does not in any way, shape or form represent a shift of my backing.
Ever since retired army Brigadier, David Granger announced his interest in becoming the PNCR’s presidential candidate, which candidacy he subsequently snagged, there have been letters questioning, if not indicting him, for his role in or knowledge of the PNC’s rigging of elections.
Like most Guyanese, I am curious to know what exactly Mr. Granger did or knew, so I kept reading letter after letter with no new credible information, and the latest two that I read – Mr. Harry Gill on April 29 and Mr. Claude Vernon on April 30 – have prompted me to now write this letter.
Letter writing critics of Mr. Granger are not winning any serious supporters looking to cast their votes one way or other come Election Day, because no matter how much these writers try they have not provided indictable evidence of Mr. Granger’s involvement in election rigging, or as President Bharrat Jagdeo claimed, having ‘blood on his hands’.
And because Mr. Granger served the nation via the army for decades before honorably retiring without being confronted with charges of involvement in election rigging or killing of political supporters of any party, I think critics of his presidential aspirations need to come better than make mere insinuations of guilt by proximity of his office to the then government leadership or even his affiliation to the then ruling party.
Let me make it clear before I advance that if Mr. Granger was involved in election rigging or orchestrating/conspiring to kill anyone, then anyone with hard evidence needs to produce this now or stop the insinuations. Why?
This is no way to treat a man who served as a defender of his nation for decades and retired honorably.
I am not for one moment defending his political present or past, but definitely his professional past, because of the three presidential candidates, he is the only one who was not a known political quantity, whose politics can be subjected to scrutiny and judgment, so if we are going to judge him politically by linking him to rigged elections, let us bring on the evidence and make him answer for it. Otherwise, what else is there for us to judge him on?
Mr. Gill, with whom I have barely acquainted, wrote in his letter a point he previously raised about Mr. Granger handling a loan matter for Mr. Malcolm Harripaul, when the latter also served in the army. The focus here is on Mr. Granger’s integrity, because Mr. Harripaul was twice denied a loan from the army’s credit union for lack of sufficient service, and Mr. Granger stepped in and the loan was approved.
Look, since we’re talking army here, then in the context of any army hierarchical system, a superior can override a subordinate on any decision.
Moreover, we don’t know if Mr. Harripaul made a compelling case before Mr. Granger that led to the latter’s intervention, but I’d be happy for Mr. Harripual if he had a genuine emergency rather than angry at Mr. Granger for showing mercy.
This is why I disagree with Mr. Gill when he wrote, “… if we can deduct anything from the Harripaul incident, it is simply this: God help us all if Granger is ever elected president and brings that management style to the Executive Office.”
And like Mr. Gill, Mr. Vernon also raised questions about Mr. Granger and elections rigging, but these are just that: questions. There are no credible allegations being made.
Mr. Gill asked former GDF Major Ian Fraser to say ‘who specifically gave the instructions for the seizure of those ballot boxes, and which GDF officer, if not Granger, was charged to carry out those instructions’.
Mr. Gill, my friend, how can this be an indictment of Mr. Granger?
Then Mr. Vernon wrote that two statements attributed to Mr. Granger are strange: 1) “I never killed anyone and I never rigged an election.
I was at Atkinson Base at the time,” and 2) “l don’t have evidence that the elections were rigged.” To which Mr. Vernon then concluded: “Mr. Granger must have made the second statement with tongue in cheek because I cannot see how a man of his intellect could be unaware of the evidence of massive rigging of the elections and the 1978 referendum.”
Come on now, Mr. Vernon! The man said he never killed anyone and he never rigged any election! That is as bold and brave as anyone can get in defending himself or herself, and if anyone has any evidence to refute that, let them bring it on! Nail Mr. Granger as a bald face liar!
And when he said he has no evidence the elections were rigged, it is just as if you or I said it.
We have no evidence! Not that you and I and Mr. Gill don’t believe elections were rigged; we do believe.
Heck, the PNC knows it did! The point is that we can’t demand Mr. Granger to produce evidence of something he denied being part of and that not even those who actually stuffed ballot boxes can produce today.
Short of hard evidence, we need people who actually stuffed ballot boxes to come forward and readily admit doing so and then argue a strong circumstantial case that implicates Mr. Granger.
Other than that, Mr. Granger has already denied any involvement, so let us find something else to hammer him on as he seeks to become President of Guyana.
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