– says electoral process was ‘intentionally manipulated’
One day after Kaieteur News specifically asked incumbent President David Granger if he would commit to the outcome of the National Recount of votes cast at the March 2 poll, he released a statement avoiding a direct answer, but claiming that the electoral process was “intentionally manipulated”.
Against increasing calls by his party spokespersons including Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo, and Campaign Manager, Joseph Harmon, that the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections were not credible, Kaieteur News sent the President, via his press liaison, a number of questions regarding previous statements on his commitment to the recount process.
At his last press engagement on May 17, the President stated that he will accept “any” declarations made by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) at the conclusion of the recount.
However, in a statement on Wednesday, his party danced: “Any results emanating from this process cannot be considered credible because of the high incidence of fraud.”
It was against this backdrop that President Granger was asked if he still stands on his pronouncement that he will accept “any” declaration made by GECOM or has that position changed in light of what the party has said.
In his statement yesterday, this is what President Granger said: “I will abide by the declarations of the Elections Commission as I have abided by the rulings of the Court.”
This is not a departure from his previous pronouncement that he will abide by “any” declaration.
Kaieteur News also asked if he gave sanction for Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and his Coalition partner Joseph Harmon to pronounce on the credibility of the elections and if not, under what authority were they doing so.
Both Harmon and Nagamootoo have outrightly stated that the Elections were not credible despite Granger stating emphatically that it was he who had the ultimate authority to speak on behalf of the Coalition.
An answer to that question was not provided; however, the President “encouraged everyone to await the completion of the four stages – the current recount, the reports of the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) and the CARICOM observers, the review by the Elections Commission and the declaration of the final results by the Chairman of the Commission.”
Next, the President was asked to respond to the ultimatum given to GECOM by Harmon to pronounce on the various allegations of fraud and irregularities raised by the Coalition by June 5th.
If this was not done, Harmon stated that an audience would be sought with GECOM Chair, Justice Claudette Singh.
Directly, President Granger was asked whether Harmon’s ultimatum was done on his authority.
An answer to this question was not provided in the statement.
What the President did note were that those very irregularities were “committed intentionally”.
“Everyone is aware of numerous reports of irregularities including unstamped ballots, deceased and migrant voters and missing poll books. Those irregularities appear to have been committed intentionally, not accidentally, and demonstrate a pattern of manipulation of the electoral process,” Granger said.
Additionally, President Granger was asked to address the false information presented by the Coalition to GECOM on alleged overseas voters. The party had submitted a series of lists with names, serial numbers and dates of birth of persons they claim were out of the country but whose names were ticked off as having voted at the March 2 polls.
Investigations done by Kaieteur News, however, have revealed the inaccuracy of the claims, with a total of 24 persons coming forward with evidence to prove that they did not leave Guyana and voted at the March 2, 2020 Elections.
The President was asked whether he sanctioned the submission of the presentation of that information to GECOM and whether he is aware of the revelation of the false claims. An answer for this question was also not provided.
The issue was also not addressed in the statement.
Finally, Kaieteur News asked the President when he is expected to address the media again in a full press conference but like all the other questions, a direct answer was not provided.
Instead, the President issued his statement.
The press conference on May 17 marked Granger’s first public appearance since March.
The Granger presidency has been criticised for his refusal to hold more, open press conferences with questions sent to his press and publicity team generally going unanswered.
In 2018, for example, only after tremendous media pressure, including formal complaints by the Guyana Press Association, did Granger hold only his third press conference since coming to power in 2015.
His first press conference was held five months into his tenure- in October 2015 with his second one being held over two years later in December of 2017.
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