Joe Harmon and Raphael Trotman held a press conference to offer APNU’s side in the never-ending saga of election confusion which raised its monstrous head on the fateful, Tuesday morning of March 3 when Returning Officer for Region 4, Clairmont Mingo, stopped the tabulation of the statements of poll (SOPs), only to resume on Wednesday when virtual insanity took over the tabulation train and derailed it over the Cassandra Crossing.
It is an onerous task trying to decipher logic and rationality in Harmon’s delivery. There are omissions and huge gaps of incomprehension that paint a picture of self-destruction. Here is an attempt to make sense of what Harmon said, and also some references to what he chose to leave out or inadvertently did not mention.
Harmon acknowledges that Guyana could suffer profound instability from international sanctions and therefore wants the local stakeholders to dialogue. One can read a positive note into this admission of realism. If he realises that sanctions can destroy Guyana’s livelihood, then compromise could be on its way. But Harmon’s dialogue advocacy is opaque.
What does he want to discuss and settle? He does not state. Here is Harmon: “I encourage all of the parties for them to sit and work out our differences. Sanctions is (sic) not the way!” Before he went into that direction, Harmon concluded that APNU+AFC won the election.
Before his fear of sanctions was conveyed to the reporters, he had told them earlier in the same press conference that the declaration made to the Chief Election Officer (CEO) should form the basis of the election results.
Here is Harmon again; “We believe that we have won these elections. We believe that the figures are there; they have been there since the 14th of March and, therefore, it is that this is what will avert these serious sanctions.”
This is indeed the politics of confusion and the confusion of politics. Simply put – if there is a winner, why should there be sanctions? It is an exigent question that Harmon and Trotman need to answer
Let us rewind the tape. Remember Mingo’s numbers for Region 4 were made on Thursday (March 5) and thus there was a declaration for the general election. The CEO then apprised GECOM that there was a conclusion, so that GECOM could formally meet to accept the conclusion. It was a court ruling that stopped Granger from being sworn in.
The same Harmon told the nation that as soon as the injunction was discharged by the Chief Justice, Granger would be sworn in. It turned out that the court rejected Mingo’s figures and ordered him to re-do the process. He complied and continued in his old way by using a spreadsheet.
Then he moved his tabulation exercise, this time not at Ashmin’s building, but at GECOM’s head office where he made a second definitive statement – it gave victory to APNU+AFC. But the opposition parties and all the international observers lamented the old ways of Mingo and disagreed with his final figures that Friday night (March 13) at GECOM, thus rejecting Mingo’s numbers as valid.
At the press conference, Harmon stated that based on the March 13 declaration, APNU+AFC has won. If this is the position of APNU+AFC, then Harmon needs to tell the nation what exactly he has in mind when the parties sit down to discuss the prevention of sanctions, and when they do that, who is accepting what from the 2020 election results.
What did Harmon leave out at his press conference? The question is: was he speaking for the totality of APNU? Two constituents of APNU have not taken the route of Harmon, and have gone beyond March 13. The Justice For All Party and the WPA have agreed to the total recount of all ballots, and desire an acceptance from all stakeholders of what that count will reveal.
One of Guyana’s most prominent stakeholders, ACDA, which is close to the PNC, has suggested a total recount as a way out of the impasse
Let us assume that JFAP, WPA and ACDA believe that APNU+AFC won. They have gone beyond that acceptance to the transparent route – that a total recount is the most reliable mechanism for settling the results. There is nothing in Harmon’s press conference that approximates to the attitude of JFAP, WPA and ACDA.
Harmon exposed the Achilles heel of his president and his party at that press conference when he said; “Sanctions aren’t something that you play around with. We’re concerned about the threats of sanctions…”
Here is an open expression of fear. But unless a transparent election result is made, and if APNU+AFC swears in Granger, sanctions will see the arrival of ‘Jaws’ in Guyana.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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