Mar 23, 2020 Letters
The recent statement of President Granger on the afternoon of Saturday March 21 on “Civil violence in the Mahaica-Berbice Region 5” appeared to be surreal. More especially, coming so fast on the heels of the statement he made the evening before, March 20, 2020, on the political situation.
The public was unimpressed and even dismayed that 18 days after the elections, Mr. Granger would repeat ad nauseum his monotonous, unconvincing and vacuous mantra which only he and his cabal seem to believe.
The PPP statement of March 21, 2020 captures the response of the majority of the Guyanese people “Last night, again, we witnessed another monotonous, self-serving and sterile statement from President Granger, proclaiming his commitment to free and fair elections, to the CARICOM Initiative and to a total national recount of the ballots cast, while at the same time, hiding behind the cover of the recently filed High Court proceedings, which he insinuates, is the reason why he cannot discharge his commitment under the CARICOM Accord brokered by the Chairperson of CARICOM, Prime Minister Mia Mottley.”
The same statement went on to say “However, he can still redeem himself. All Mr. Granger has to do is to instruct his Commissioners at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to proceed with the recount, a unanimous decision already made by GECOM on the 15th day of March 2020 and instruct Ulita Moore, his Party’s Candidate for the 2018 Local Government Elections and his Candidate for the 2nd March 2020 elections, Roysdale Forde, who is the Lawyer for Ulita Moore, to withdraw the High Court Case and let the recount of the ballots begins. He can also make his party’s statements of poll public as the PPP/C has done so that the world can see, transparently, whether his party won the elections.”
Of course Mr. Granger’s statement today belies any hope of him redeeming himself as he and his spin doctors have spent all day churning the dangerous pot of ethnic politics.
In the face of condemnation and possible sanctions internationally, regionally and from individual nations, he deliberately avoided in the March 20 statement any mention of the reports of the five international observer missions- the OAS, the CARICOM, the Carter Center, the Commonwealth and the European Union —with regards to fraudulent declarations of the results by the Returning Officer for Region 4, Mr. Mingo, in defiance of the Chief Justice orders. They all demanded a recount of the votes in Region 4.
Furthermore, he diligently ignored the statements of warning from the US Secretary of State Mr. Mike Pompeo, the Bi-partisan members of Congress, Bi-Partisan members of the US Congress, Ablio Sires, Eliot Engel, Yvette Clarke, Francis Rooney, and others in the US Government, the UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Rabb; the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, the Secretary General of the Organization of the American States, United Nations Secretary General, the Chairperson of the CARICOM, Representatives of the diplomatic community – USA, UK, Canada, EU, India, the governments of the Norway, UK, France, Antigua and Barbuda, 90 international NGOs and The ELDERS, the Roman Catholic Bishops of the Caribbean. He ignored the public calls of the Guyana Bar Association, leaders of the Christian, Muslim and Hindu communities, the Private Sector Commission, the Chamber of Commerce, Transparency Institute Guyana Inc and dozens more.
How can a Head of State, albeit for a short time more, ignore that the nation is on the edge of a precipice, that the rule of law he claims to uphold is tottering dangerously as a result of his leadership and the Coalition he heads.
It is in this context that Granger’s March 21 statement is surreal. Let us do a fact check on Granger’s claims:-
First of all -destruction of property. A small shack which was unoccupied and used once a week to sell beef has been burnt. The shack had been decorated with APNU flags. Rumours have it that the owner may have burnt it himself. A young man has been arrested by the police following the President’s statement.
Second – attacks on innocent citizens on March 20 in Bush Lot Village – no such attacks or any such instances took place.
He refers to the March 5 events on the East Coast and Berbice and belatedly offers his “sympathy to the children and police who were injured and condolences to the family of the person who was shot in the fracas”.
The more important issue is why would Mr. Granger make such a statement so out of tune with reality at this time? Why would he as President respond with such a strident statement on a seemingly small matter when so many major incursions have taken place which attacked our democratic values, laws and freedoms in the last 20 days? Why wasn’t he offended by the brutal treatment meted out to Mr. Robeson Benn, a GECOM Commissioner by the police? Why wasn’t he offended by the removal of the international observers and party representatives to monitor the verification of the SOPs and tabulation of Region 4 on more than one occasion? Why hasn’t he offered an apology to the Carter Center for the harassment they suffered at the hands of his APNU supporters so much so that they were concerned for their security and safety?
Mr. Granger has been anxiously waiting for a flash-point, a trigger, to allow him to invoke other provisions of the constitution to install himself indefinitely knowing fully that he would be an illegal President in the eyes of the Guyanese people and the world. He has been given no such an opportunity by the defenders of democracy, who have upheld peaceful means under stressful and provocative situations evolving on a daily, nay, hourly, basis. The PPPC joined with the opposition parties, civil society and civic minded Guyanese, across political and ethnic lines, only desire is to see their vote counted transparently and in accordance with the laws.
Having failed so far to instigate a trigger, is Granger and his spin doctors manufacturing ones in order to set the stage for an intervention? And what could it be?
We, as a people, must remain ever vigilant at this time to protect our democracy and constitutional rule.
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