By Kemol King
“For those persons who are calling for Mr. Granger to concede, that is not going to happen!”
Those are the words of APNU+AFC campaign manager, Joseph Harmon, from an interview on the Linden radio station 104.3 Power FM. Kaieteur News understands that the interview was broadcast across several stations in Guyana and across the region.
Harmon’s comments are the first response from an executive of the Coalition to the numerous calls which have been made for President David Granger, the Coalition’s presidential candidate, to admit his loss.
Despite Harmon’s comments, Granger is yet to address the public on what decision he will take.
The results of the recount show that the PPP/C got 233,336 valid votes, ahead of the Coalition’s 217,920 valid votes.
Questions about conceding have been pointed to Granger since the CARICOM Scrutineer Team stated in their report that the recount results are completely acceptable and should form the basis of a declaration.
Granger had touted the CARICOM team’s competence and ability on multiple occasions before the publication of the report, stating that CARICOM is the “most legitimate interlocutor” on the Guyana situation. However, since the report revealed CARICOM’s rejection of the Coalition’s efforts to discredit the March 2 polls, Granger has been absent from the media space, and has refused to respond to questions about whether he will admit defeat.
Meanwhile, calls for a declaration to be made on the results of the recount continue to mount. Four influential senators on the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee just days ago called on Granger to concede.
In support of the CARICOM team’s findings, calls for a declaration to be made on the results of the recount came in a joint statement from the diplomats representing America, Britain, Canada, and the European Union.
Those were accompanied by similar statements from the Organisation of American States (OAS), the Commonwealth, the Kingdom of Norway, and Nelson Mandela’s Elders Group.
Locally, calls for Granger to concede came from several religious organizations, including the Arya Samaj community and the Centre for Inter-Religious Dialogue.
A Washington-based political consultant, José Cárdenas told reporters on Saturday that he thinks Granger will do the right thing and demit office, to avoid sanctions from the US.
Harmon dismissed all of those statements in his interview yesterday.
“Concede to what?” he asked, “Concede to who? What is he to concede to? It appears to me, I’ll venture to say any right thinking person, to be a most ridiculous and nonsensical proposition.”
Harmon said that calls for Granger to admit defeat are coming from “a narrative which has been overtaken by time… in view of a report submitted by the Chief Elections Officer to the Guyana Elections Commission…”
Last Tuesday, Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield disregarded the instruction of the Chair, Justice Claudette Singh, by presenting an elections report to GECOM, which did not reflect the results of the recount.
The report seeks to dump 115,844 valid General Election votes on claims that they are not valid. The Court of Appeal had passed down a ruling, which stated that “more votes” in Article 177 (2) of the Constitution means “more valid votes” – the article speaks to the criterion for which a candidate is to be deemed President-elect.
The CEO claimed that he was guided by the Court of Appeal in his revision of the recount results, despite the fact that there was a stay on the Court’s judgment at the time he submitted the report.
Furthermore, the results of the recount were already tabulated and certified as “valid votes” as evidenced in the recount certificates.
Lowenfield’s report purports to give the Coalition 171,825 votes, a purported lead over the PPP/C’s 166,343 votes.
This represents the fourth attempt to hand the Coalition a victory, which does not reflect the will of the voting populace as expressed on March 2, and certified during the recount. The first two instances were perpetrated by Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo, who made two very different, but both fraudulent declarations on March 5 and 13.
The third time was on June 13, when Lowenfield submitted a preliminary report, seeking to dump 269,619 votes on trumped up claims of voter impersonation and procedural irregularities.
This time around, Lowenfield’s ‘final’ report differs strikingly from his first, but he has provided no explanation for the difference.
Harmon said that the CEO has submitted his report.
“All they are waiting on now,” Harmon said, “is for the Chairman of the Elections Commission to make her declaration and have Brigadier David Granger sworn in. That is the issue.”
He added, “Let us not waste too much time in swearing in President Granger so that our country can move forward.”
Of the challenge to the Appeal Court’s ruling, Harmon said that he does not think the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) will reverse it. A singular hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, July 1, after which the Court is expected to announce a date for a ruling.
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