If the President of Guyana feels that there were problems with the elections, he is not alone in this view. In fact just after the elections, supporters of the main opposition grouping, A Partnership for National Unity, took to the streets because it perceived that there were problems in the elections.
There were accusations being made about what happened during the elections and there was a campaign for verification of the results. The PPP also called, then, for a forensic audit of the elections and it was APNU who had insisted that there, when it came to the results the statement of polls was the legal document that was important to the results, not the ballot boxes, since it claimed the ballot boxes could have been tampered with after the votes had been counted.
The PPP always had its suspicions and APNU for some reason may have also felt that it was cheated. A faction of APNU began marching around the city pressing, amongst other things, for verification.
This cast more than a shadow of doubt over the results of the elections and the protests were even taken to the home of the Chairman of the Elections Commission.
Eventually, it was agreed that APNU would have copies to the statements of poll and this was given to them in electronic version. The wait then began for APNU to uncover the discrepancies which would have shown that the results of the elections did not reflect the will of the electorate.
Despite having criticized GECOM for what was seen as its slow release of results, even though the release this time was far faster than any time before, APNU itself took a very long time to do its verification.
The APNU supporters were anxiously waiting for the anticipated evidence that the declared results were different from what the verification would have unveiled.
They are still waiting. First the announcement was made that the discrepancies were discovered. And then after being pressed as to why it was taking so long, another announcement came later than even though there were discrepancies uncovered, it would not change the outcome of the results, which means that whatever little mistakes were found would not change the number of seats allocated or would they change the fact that the PPP had won the presidency.
This has been a regular habit of the PNCR. They made the same contentions about the results on the 1997 elections and when they were asked to produce ten statements of poll that did not confirm to the declared results, they did not accept the challenge.
So, it was APNU all along that was the first to cast doubts about the results of the elections. Now that the President has come out and said he believed there were problems with the way the votes were counted, APNU should not be disappointed. After all, it was the one that called for verification.
But the PPP also has a responsibility to indicate how it arrived at the belief that it was robbed of a majority. Perhaps a forensic audit is the way to go and there is no reason why this should not be undertaken.
After all, following the PNCR defeat in the 1997 elections when mysteriously some polling officers in Region Four, instead of sending the statements of poll to GECOM, they ran off the “ Olympics” with the statements of poll.
This was the excuse that the PNCR needed to call the elections into question and after protests and audit was agreed upon. That audit was conducted by a team from CARICOM and when the results of that audit was completed, the PNCR was totally embarrassed and disgraced in the eyes of the world because the audit confirmed , with only minor modifications, the results of the elections.
APNU therefore can get upset about the President’s comments, but it should recall that it was APNU that was the one calling for verification and this call was not received by most of their supporters as being something to simply put the declared results beyond question. The supporters of APNU saw this call as raising suspicion about the results of the elections.
Despite this call and the ongoing verification of the statements of poll, there was no break in the discussions between APNU, the government and the AFC.
So why should the President’s recent charge that he believed that the PPP was robbed on a majority be seen in any different light to the positions APNU adopted just after the elections? What is the difference?
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